Immigrant, Black voters play key role in Metro Nashville elections – Tennessee Lookout

Immigrant and Black voters played a critical role in Metro Nashville’s municipal elections.

Of the 26 candidates endorsed by TIRRC Votes, the political arm of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, 21 won their races — including Mayor-elect Freddie O’Connell. Other winners include Delishia Porterfield, Olivia Hill and Quin Evans Segall, who claimed seats as Metro Council At-Large members.

The Equity Alliance Fund

  • Households canvassed: 3,296
  • Direct mail: 40,101 pieces sent
  • Text messages: 50,055 attempts

Nashville Justice League

  • Households canvassed: 7,665
  • Direct mail: 28,977 pieces sent
  • Text messages: 21,083 attempts

“Progressive candidates and voters dominated this election,” said Lisa Sherman Luna, Executive Director of TIRRC Votes. “We’ve cemented our power, and made it clear that pro-immigrant voters are a decisive voice in Metro elections.”

TIRRC Votes is part the Nashville Justice League, a coalition founded in 2019 that includes The Equity Alliance Fund and the Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

The NJL’s website says it works for candidates “who stand up for civil rights, workers’ rights, and immigrant rights,” representing Nashville’s  diverse, underserved, working class communities.

Unlike other progressive groups, TIRRC Votes endorsed a single candidate in the mayor’s race ahead of the Aug. 3 general election, and utilized direct mail, canvassing and digital efforts to ensure O’Connell won the Sept. 14 runoff election.

TIRRC Votes volunteers with campaign literature. (Photo: TIRRC Votes)
(Photo: TIRRC Votes)

TIRRC Votes ran one of the largest civic engagement programs in the county this cycle, sending 233,935 text messages, writing over 36,274 postcards, and contacting every immigrant voter in the county by mail for a total of 470,221 contacts.

In addition to the five candidates who won county-wide election, other winners include incumbent Councilmember Sandra Sepulveda — who was reelected for a second term — Terry Vo and Jeff Preptit. All have immigrant backgrounds.

“Immigrants and refugees will play a powerful role in shaping the direction of our city, from getting out the vote to the ballot box, to sitting in elected office—we look forward to working with Freddie (O’Connell), his administration and the next council to build a city where we all have the freedom to thrive,” said Luna.