In perhaps the most bizarre race that this picturesque Middle Tennessee community has ever experienced, Franklin voters resoundingly rejected a candidate for mayor who openly embraced white supremacists and Christian nationalism.
Incumbent Mayor Ken Moore easily defeated Gabrielle Hanson, a local real estate developer and first-term city alderman who faced one controversy after another. White supremacists showed up at a candidates forum in a show of support for Hanson, who refused to distance herself from the men despite broad condemnation from fellow aldermen.
Final election results show Moore garnered 12,822 votes (79.4%), compared to Hanson’s 3,322 votes (20.6%).
The election results also brought a decisive defeat for other MAGA candidates for alderman-at-large that had been supported by the far-right Williamson Families PAC, including Jeff Feldman, Patrick George and Gary Moore.
“The challenges of this election have made our community stronger,” Moore said as he and his supporters celebrated their victory.
“We all know we live in a great community. We must keep it great.”
Hanson refused to allow media to attend their election night event, which reportedly cost $500 a person to attend.
The Franklin alderman became the focus of a series of NewsChannel 5 investigations that began when she lifted social media images to falsely portray support for her campaign, including posting a photo of a diverse group of women who told NewsChannel 5 Investigates that they did not know her and did not support her campaign.
In addition, she angered families associated with Nashville’s Covenant School shooting, passing on a bogus conspiracy theory. While she claimed to warned a Franklin police officer in advance of a premonition about an active shooting, NewsChannel 5 Investigates obtained the officer’s bodycam video to prove it never happened.
NewsChannel 5 also revealed that Hanson had been arrested for promoting prostitution in Dallas in the mid-90s. And, despite her opposition to Franklin’s Pride festival, we uncovered a photo showing her Speedo-wearing husband at a 2008 Pride parade in Chicago.
As the campaign continued, NewsChannel 5 uncovered apparent links between Hanson’s campaign and a harassment campaign waged by her white supremacist supporters.
Critics also raised concerns about links between Hanson’s campaign and Christian nationalists who want to use politics to impose their faith on others.
In addition, Alderman-at-Large candidate Jeff Feldman was the focus of other NewsChannel 5 investigations, including his inflated campaign biography and social media posts in which he threatened to use guns against unruly kids in his Westhaven neighborhood.
As a result of NewsChannel 5’s revelations, the influential Westhaven Conservatives group rescinded its endorsements of Hanson and Feldman.
Final election results showed Feldman received 4,243 votes, compared to 10,961 for incumbent Ann Petersen.