On a rainy November night, Megan Barry is working the crowd gathered in a stunning Forest Hills mansion, built in 1843, near Davidson County's southern border.
After nearly three years as a presumptive candidate, Barry, who is nearing the end of her second four-year term as an at-large member of the Metro Council, is officially, publicly, really running for mayor. It's been a year-and-a-half since she filed the necessary paperwork to set up a campaign — and more importantly, to begin raising money. But with the congressional midterms and state legislative elections now wrapped up, the political calendar is a wide-open straight shot to the Metro elections in August.
Barry is the only 2015 mayoral candidate who can boast having won a countywide election, and she's done it twice. After she was elected to one of the council's five at-large seats in 2007, she ran again in 2011 and received the most votes of the five incumbents who won re-election. If she wins in August, she will be the first woman elected mayor in the city's history. There is another woman, Linda Rebrovick, among her opponents, but the previous woman to try it — Betty Nixon, herself a former council member who ran in 1991 — is backing Barry.