Franklin incumbent Mayor Ken Moore wins in landslide after hostile race
Moore defeated a candidate with ties to neo-Nazi white nationalists groups, grabbing 80% of the vote
Franklin, Tenn. Mayor Ken Moore. with his wife, Linda, acknowledges his landslide victory on Oct. 24, 2023. (Phot: John Partipilo)
Franklin Mayor Ken Moore defeated alderman Gabrielle Hanson in a suburban Middle Tennessee mayor’s race that drew unusually high attention after Hanson refused to denounce support from a group of neo-Nazis.
Moore won 80% of the vote compared to Hanson’s 20%. He was helped by a significant turnout which saw 16,209 ballots cast in the mayor’s race. By comparison in the 2019 Franklin mayoral race 3,475 people voted.
“I don’t think the battle with some of these folks is over, [but] I think we’ve started to win the battle even more,” Moore said.
“The people of Franklin have said we like what we have. We’re a very special place and we’re not going to let people come in and tear down what people have been doing for 40 years to make this a great city.”
The campaign’s final month was dominated by news coverage of Hanson, who was embroiled in one controversy after another.
A NewsChannel 5 investigation published in September found that Hanson had posted a photo of a group of women claiming they supported her campaign, but at least one person featured had no idea who Hanson was.
The initial article kicked off a series of stories by NewsChannel 5 and the Williamson Herald about Hanson’s and her husband’s past, including Hanson admitting she plead guilty to a charge of promoting prostitution in the 1990s.
Hanson’s campaign responded to the news reports angrily, with at one point staffers trying to stop a reporter from entering a publicly open candidate forum.
The story turned dark when Hanson appeared at another event with bodyguards from the Tennessee Active Club, an anti-semitic and white supremacist group.
These groups then vandalized the Herald’s office in the campaign’s final days.
Moore and Hanson are both Republicans, even though the Franklin race is technically nonpartisan.
But Hanson is considerably to the right politically of Moore and other Franklin officials, several of who publicly denounced her for happily taking support from neo-Nazis.
Hanson first gained public noterity earlier this year when she wrote a letter criticizing Nashville International Airport officials for sponsoring a Juneteenth event in Franklin.
Editor Holly McCall contributed to this report.
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