Below, a guide to some of the other races and initiatives appearing on the ballot in Davidson County. Races without opposition are not included. For additional coverage of other races, see Jeff Woods' story.
Have fun with this one, Democrats, who face a choice between a moderate Republican (U.S. Sen. Bob Corker) and a reviled Democratic challenger (Mark Clayton) whose far-right platform makes the incumbent look like Ted Kennedy. Among a crowded field of third-party rivals, libertarian-leaning independent Shaun Crowell, a Spring Hill veterinarian, won plaudits from The Huffington Post commentator Robin Koerner, who noted that "many Republicans in his district rightly identify him as a truer example of their stated principles than the incumbent who has the (R) after his name." He's endorsed by the Ron Paul-supporting Blue Republicans. Jacob Maurer, a 30-year-old Hillwood High band director, offers himself as a write-in candidate with a credo that cuts to the chase: "I'm not Clayton or Corker."
The Democratic incumbent, Rep. Jim Cooper, faces off against Republican newcomer Brad Staats, who made headlines last month with a Facebook post that gave President Obama a sunny "Welcome to Tennessee" accompanied by a photo of a handgun. Hey, it couldn't hurt. Tennessee State University political-science professor John Miglietta, monthly co-host of Radio Free Nashville's Green Hour, runs as Green Party candidate on a platform that includes immediate withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan and commitment to alternative energy sources (not nuclear).
District 18: Ferrell Haile is a retired Gallatin pharmacist who ran for the seat in 2000, and served as the interim state senator in 2010 after Diane Black was elected to Congress. Maria Brewer is the former chair of the Sumner County Democratic Party. This is one district where redistricting screwed a Republican incumbent — Kerry Roberts was drawn out of the district into a district where there won't be a chance to run until 2014. Still leans Republican, though.
District 52: Incumbent Democratic Rep. Michael Stewart is challenged only by Daniel Lewis, a self-described Libertarian identified on the ballot as an independent, whose website asserts "the rights of the individual against an ever advancing tide of collectiveism [sic]."
District 53: Democrat Jason Powell faces off against Republican Ben Claybaker for outgoing Rep. Janis Sontany's old seat. (Powell served as a representative on the Davidson County Democratic Executive Committee, while Claybaker worked in Washington for the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign; interestingly, both have backgrounds in public school teaching and real estate.) District leans Democratic, but Republicans are excited about Claybaker and feel like they could have a shot, if Obama voters stay home.
District 55: Green Party candidate Susan Shann, singer-songwriter and host of CATV Channel 19's Earth Revolution, pretty much endorsed longtime Democratic incumbent Gary Odom back in September. As she told the The Tennessean's Josh Brown, she considers Odom "among some of the better Democrats."
District 59: District leans heavily to the Democrats, and incumbent Rep. Sherry Jones has been in office 18 years. That said, it was dramatically redrawn and includes more of Republican Duvall's Metro Council turf. But he's very conservative in a left-leaning district. One Republican staffer says, "Unless Romney wins Tennessee by 70 percent plus, I don't think we take that one."
Brenda Wynn, appointed to serve out the term of scandal-plagued predecessor John Arriola, is opposed by independents Jeff Crum and veteran political candidate Kenneth Eaton.
The most notable, to non-Goodlettsvillians, may be the candidacy of Zach Young. At age 20, the Merrol Hyde Magnet School graduate has a website that spells out a platform supporting Main Street redevelopment and increased support for public amenities.
Amendment No. 1: A vote for ratification would allow Metro employees to serve as part-time poll workers for the Davidson County Election Commission.
Amendment No. 2: A vote for ratification would remove the requirement that Metro's Director of Public Works be a licensed engineer. The department's last two directors have served without that qualification.
Amendment No. 3: According to the Metro Department of Law, which initially proposed this amendment, a vote for ratification would specifically give the Davidson County sheriff authority to continue carrying out certain duties that were once assigned to the Metro police department under the original Metro charter. At the same time, it would grant the Metro Council the ability to assign additional duties to the sheriff. According to the language of the amendment, such additional duties could include those "relating to the intake, processing, identification, questioning and interrogation" of people in official custody — precisely the issue that got the DCSO in legal hot water over its 287(g) partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Arguably, this amendment is a moot point, since the Tennessee Supreme Court's ruling last month in Renteria-Villegas v. Metro essentially agreed the sheriff's office has these powers. But Metro Director of Law Saul Solomon says, "It should be up to the people, as opposed to a court, to decide what the sheriff should do."
Amendment No. 4: A vote for ratification would rename the Metro police department's "school mothers' patrol division" as the "school crossing guard division." The amendment is part of an ongoing effort to update outdated and unenforced portions of the Metro code. In this case, old lines of code relating to the "school mothers' patrol division" stipulated that members must be between 105 and 140 pounds and could not be pregnant.
Amendment No. 5: A vote for ratification would clarify that Metro's stormwater functions fall under the purview of the Metro water department, which has already been overseeing them for some time.
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