Holly McCall

Holly McCall

Holly McCall has been a fixture in Tennessee media and politics for decades. She covered city hall for papers in Columbus, Ohio and Joplin, Missouri before returning to Tennessee with the Nashville Business Journal. Holly brings a deep wealth of knowledge about Tennessee’s political processes and players and likes nothing better than getting into the weeds of how political deals are made.

Gov. Bill Lee. (Photo: John Partipilo)

In Gov. Bill Lee’s Tennessee, ‘choice’ means you have no choice

By: - December 8, 2022

The word “choice” is doing a lot of work these days in Gov. Bill Lee’s government. “Choice,” as defined by the Oxford English dictionary, can be used as a noun or an adverb. The former refers to “the act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two possibilities,” while the latter refers to […]

Layla Ahmed of TIRRC Votes working outside the Nashville Public Library Southeast Branch in Antioch. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Civic engagement groups grow programs for immigrant and Black organizers

By: - December 6, 2022

Layla Ahmed, a 2022 Vanderbilt University graduate, signed up to be a civic engagement coordinator for TIRRC Votes shortly after graduation, figuring her political science studies and prior volunteer experience on campaigns would come in handy across the state. But the highlight of her work came close to home.  “Campaigns don’t usually target my neighborhood,” […]

A photo from the Tennessee Department of Children's Services Facebook page shows a happy family dancing in front of a Christmas tree--hardly the scene for many children in the custody of DCS.

Tennessee DCS situation represents abject failure of government, lawmakers

By: - November 30, 2022

When Tennessee Lookout reporter Anita Wadhwani first reported in August 2021 that children in custody of the state were left sleeping on the floors of state office buildings, some surrounded by mounds of clothing and dirty diapers, readers were outraged.  One might think that Gov. Bill Lee, who frequently touts his bona fides as a […]

Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, called on Gov. Bill Lee on Wednesday to take executive action to freeze laws on open gun carry and guns in car trunks.(Photo: John Partipilo)

Nashville Rep. Clemmons takes over House Democratic Caucus

By: - November 27, 2022

After one term as chair of the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Vincent Dixie of Nashville is out and Nashville Rep. John Ray Clemmons is in after being elected chair on Sunday by a 11-10 vote.  “Moving forward I have the opportunity to build upon the things my predecessors did in the caucus,” Clemmons said […]

(Photo:Getty Images)

The great Thanksgiving divide

By: - November 24, 2022

Of all holidays, Thanksgiving is arguably the least emotionally fraught. There are no gifts to be purchased and wrapped, no Kay Jewelry commercials to make us feel like losers if we’ve neither bought nor received diamond jewelry for the occasion and no holiday parties about which we need to fret over what to wear. But […]

Rev. Dr. Bernard Lafayette and his wife, Kate Bulls Lafayette, leave American Baptist College in Nashville on Friday after a visit to see renovations. (Photo: John Partipilo)

A civil rights leader comes home.

By: and - November 22, 2022

The campus of American Baptist College has changed little since Rev. Bernard Lafayette moved to Nashville in 1960 to attend seminary. A handful of neat red brick buildings, built in the 1920s and 30s, still cluster in the shadow of the headquarters of the newer National Baptist Convention off Brick Church Pike in North Nashville.  […]

Nashville, Tenn., Nov. 7, 2020: "Stop the Steal" event. (Photo: Alex Kent)

Finding a gleam of hope in the loss of election deniers

By: - November 16, 2022

In 2016, many rank and file Democrats believed Hillary Clinton would defeat Donald Trump. One eternally optimistic family member of mine predicted an “epic blowout.” Trump, he said, would lose by a historic margin.  But I found myself talking to a General Motors employee and member of the United Auto Workers union one day.  “I […]

Andrew Towle prayed for strength to be given to Gov. Bill Lee on Nov. 7, 2022. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Gov. Bill Lee wraps up low-key campaign for second term

By: - November 7, 2022

Winding up his four-day “Tennessee Works” campaign swing across the state, Gov. Bill Lee addressed a hometown crowd in Franklin on Monday night, saying Tennessee under his leadership sets an example for states across the country.  Lee was joined by a lineup of Tennessee Republican officials, including U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, State Senate Majority Leader […]

(Photo: Mario Tamo/Getty Images)

Few competitive races, apathy, lack of investment: the conundrum of low voter participation

By: - October 27, 2022

Last week, the Tennessee Lookout published a story about voter registration figures after writer Kathy Carlson contacted all 95 of Tennessee’s county election administrators.  Carlson personally spoke to at least a dozen administrators, including in the state’s three biggest counties — Shelby, Davidson, and Knox — and suburban ones like Williamson, which typically posts the […]

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, campaigned for now U.S. Rep. Andy Ogles in Franklin, Tenn. in October 2022. (Photo: Holly McCall)

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz stumps in Franklin for Ogles

By: - October 26, 2022

Former Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles, the Republican nominee for the 5th Congressional District, joined U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in Franklin, Tenn. Wednesday night for a rally featuring rhetoric targeting transgender people, COVID, inflation and immigration. “Subjectivism about values is eternally incompatible with democracy. To be subjective about whether a boy is a boy […]

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn speaking Friday at a rally sponsored by right-wing media personality Matt Walsh. (Photo: John Partipilo)

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn headlines anti-transgender rally in Nashville

By: and - October 21, 2022

Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn joined several other Tennessee lawmakers at a rally to protest gender-affirming care for transgender youth, which drew more than 2,500 activists to Nashville’s War Memorial Plaza on Friday afternoon. Billed as “The Rally to End Child Mutilation,” the event was hosted by The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh. Walsh started a political […]


Notes from my lawn (Now get off of it.)

By: - October 13, 2022

In my youth, I’m ashamed to say, I often teased my father when he complained about “the old days” or “kids now,” but with each passing year, I see more of him in me and understand where he was coming from.  As I was stewing on who knows what issue last week, seething myself into […]