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But he says he doesn't. Perhaps in spite of it all, Holleman says he never intended to run his campaign as if his opponent were the mayor. Looking over his campaign literature, it's clear he didn't directly address Tally, either. Rather, the attention was trained on the district itself — as is the wont of most district-based candidates.
"I think this race was important because it demonstrated that people can support a candidate in the executive branch and a candidate in the legislative branch," he says. "The fact that a lot of the same people who voted for me are a lot of the very same people who voted for the mayor demonstrates people want advocates in both of those roles. We have more in common than we don't."
In this post-election landscape, Holleman is careful not to criticize the mayor, with whom he now hopes to forge if not a more perfect union, at least one that doesn't involve the kind of blatant antagonism that has so far defined their political relationship on a few key issues. He's less interested in rehashing the race than concerning himself with the needs of his constituency, specifically infill development in District 24.
"In the very near future I would like to see us look at how to promote infill redevelopment, particularly along our major corridors leading into downtown," he says. "In my district, I plan to focus on the Charlotte Avenue corridor, but there are many others to look at, and I hope I can work with my colleagues on this going forward."
Outgoing District 6 Councilman Mike Jameson, who worked on Holleman's campaign, offers a more blunt take on how the political fallout might settle.
"Over the previous term, you got the impression from certain council members that if you were not voting in blind obedience to administrative initiatives, it was somehow inappropriate or disloyal or politically unwise, and that to me exhibits precious little consideration of our role as a check and balance on the executive," Jameson says. "Holleman's campaign was frustrating because, having been an observer of retaliatory gestures that were often aimed at those who dared to vote differently, it was doubly frustrating to watch Jason being portrayed as this antagonist."
Jameson believes that by investing so much attention and clout in the District 24 race in the pursuit of a more executive-friendly council makeup, the mayor's office neglected to aid other candidates, even though the Dean campaign says the mayor lent his likeness to "several" candidates' mailers.
"I think there are some incoming council members that he may regret, and I suspect he may look back at the previous council with envy in terms of relationships," Jameson says. "There were definitely some races where a finger push could have made the difference."
Although the outgoing councilman declined to name which races, there are two where a mayoral "finger push" could have made a significant impact. In District 5, former Metro Councilwoman Pam Murray — who on Election Day garnered headlines for calling the police on her opponent, Scott Davis, for allegedly stealing her yard signs — gained enough votes to qualify for the Sept. 15 runoff. And in District 16, Councilwoman Anna Page, whose district encompasses the fairgrounds, lost by 12 votes to her challenger Tony Tenpenny. Ironically, her support of Dean's plan to redevelop the fairgrounds left her vulnerable to attack.
Pinkston, who worked for the Dean campaign as a consultant before it was clear that no serious opposition might emerge, counters with the assertion that, as far as Dean's potential impact on District 16 goes, Page refused assistance from mayor even though it was offered.
"My understanding is that Anna was offered help and she declined," he says.
For her part, Page's comments to The City Paper on Aug. 4 echo the claim: "I needed to stand on my own record."
Dean campaign spokesman Tom Hayden says that the mayor was featured on several mailers, and that he offered varying levels of support to so many candidates it's hard to gauge what impact he really had. Indeed, whether the Dean brand is weakened by these electoral setbacks is a matter of speculation. Evans thinks the mayor is poised for a more independent-minded council, regardless of the successes and failures of executive henpecking.
"There's a couple of dynamics you have to acknowledge," she says. "The first dynamic is that this the mayor's second term, and you can go out and find anybody who's been re-elected to a second term, assuming it's your last term — the second one is gonna be tough. It's always tougher, because the council that's elected in your second term is always going to be a reaction to the first term.
"I also think that people elect their council person because they return their phone calls," Evans says. "And because Americans are naturally wary of concentrating power in one place — our country's infamous for that, you know — then people are going to want the same checks and balances at the local level, too."
She adds that Holleman is the type of person who "will let bygones be bygones," and that he isn't likely to let the politics of an election cycle interfere with the more pragmatic business of working with the Dean administration.
Hayden seconds that emotion, albeit tersely.
"The mayor's ready to work with the council," Hayden says, "to keep Nashville moving forward."
It remains to be seen whether this nice-sounding sentiment will, in practice, include open arms toward Holleman and other dissenting voices on the council. But it's certain that the issues likely to dominate Dean's second term — expansion of public transit, a potential rise in property taxes to offset the voodoo economics of the city debt's current refinancing, and the likely construction of a new stadium for the Nashville Sounds, to name a few — will provide ample opportunity to test it.
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