The Tennessean: Nashville vice mayor's race struggles to find spotlight

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Joey Garrison, jgarrison@tennessean.com  2:02 p.m. CDT July 2, 2015

With the bulk of attention going to the election to replace Mayor Karl Dean, the race for Nashville vice mayor is struggling to get noticed, even as two Metro government veterans compete for the open seat.

Former Metro At-large Councilman David Briley and current At-large Councilman Tim Garrett bring different political bases and geographic strongholds to the contest to fill the seat of term-limited Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors.

The position, which presides over the 40-member council, could take on even more significance than usual because of the historic council turnover that is looming.

But despite higher stakes and contrasting styles for the seat, few side-by-side opportunities — even fewer than past elections — have arisen for the two vice mayoral candidates to share ideas with voters.

The lone vice mayoral forum to date, sponsored by the Davidson County Democratic Women and which only Briley attended, was overshadowed by the first televised mayoral debate that took place simultaneously last month.

A second public forum was organized in East Nashville two weeks ago, but Garrett said he couldn't attend because of an oral surgery appointment that weekend. The event was canceled.

No other similar vice mayoral forums are organized ahead of election day on Aug. 6. Early voting begins July 17.

"It's not the mayor's race," said Briley, a Nashville attorney who ran unsuccessfully for Nashville mayor in 2007. "There's seven people there and most of the attention is focused there. That's both good and bad. I get to fly under the radar a little bit."

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