Updated: Aug 4, 2020
READ FROM ORIGINAL LINK NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - As presidential hopefuls rally across the country ahead of the Nevada caucuses on February 22, members of Nashville's Metro Council are throwing their support behind several different candidates.
After Council Member Freddie O'Connell (District 19) endorsed Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on President's Day, News4 reached out to every member of Council to find out who they plan to vote for in the primary election.
Among the responses we received, Pete Buttigieg has the most support in Council. Five Council members told us they will vote for the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, in the primary election. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has the second-most support with four members of Council backing him.
Only one respondent indicated they would cast a ballot for President Donald Trump—Council Member Robert Swope (District 4).
Meanwhile, here are the candidates who the At-Large members of Council will be voting for:
Bob Mendes: Amy Klobuchar
Sharon Hurt: Mike Bloomberg
Burkley Allen: Undecided
Steve Glover: No response
Zulfat Suara: Bernie Sanders
Suara, along with Council Members Emily Benedict (District 7) and Delishia Porterfiled (Disctrict 29), is a state Co-Chair for Sanders' campaign.
Seven members of Council are still undecided:
Jennifer Gamble (District 3)
Erin Evans (District 12)
Jeff Syracuse (District 15)
Colby Sledge (District 17)
Brandon Taylor (District 21)
Kathleen Murphy (District 24)
Russ Pulley (District 25)
Bob Nash (District 27)
Many of the listed Council members plan on making a decision soon. In an email to News4, Sledge said he is waiting to see what the field of candidates looks like after the Nevada and South Carolina primaries. Murphy said she is "looking forward to watching the next few debates" before she chooses a candidate, and Nash said he is wavering between two candidates (he did not specify who they are).
Council members for eight out of the 35 total districts did not respond to request for comment.
Several Council members told us they would not publicly support any candidate. As a staffer with the Tennessee Democratic Party, Council Member Sandra Sepúlveda (District 30) is not allowed to endorse a candidate. "We support all of our candidates," she wrote in an email. Council Member Tanaka Vercher (District 28) said that while she is currently undecided, she will not make her preference public in the future. She says her focus is on her work for her district, which includes trying to secure funding to build a new police precinct in Antioch.
"I wouldn’t want my constituents to feel pressured to vote in any particular manner or for any candidate because of my influence. I have endorsed in local elections but I did so because I had an opportunity to speak directly with the candidates and my constituents also had an opportunity to speak directly as well," Vercher said. "There’s no judgement on the other elected officials, I believe my constituents elected me to directly serve them and not try to influence who they vote for in Presidential campaigns.
Council Members Kevin Rhoten (District 14) and Tonya Hancock (9) emphasized that Metro Council positions are non-partisan and that they would not be making public endorsements. Hancock shared a Dolly Parton quote: "I am more patriotic than political."