That’s partially because the bankers that I deal with are in “special assets” or are the bank’s general counsel.
Long story short, they aren’t the ones at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the expensive new restaurant; nope, my clients are the ones who get called in at the end, when the loan has gone bad and we’re figuring out what to do with used restaurant equipment. My clients always notice the storm clouds on the horizon.
With that in mind, for more than a year, they’ve been predicting a tidal wave of commercial and consumer loan defaults, followed by a spike in foreclosures.
And, generally, they’ve been wrong.
In Tennessee, one recent study showed that–to date–there have only been 3,316 foreclosure sale notices published (state-wide) in 2022. That sounds like a lot, but it’s less than a third of what we had in 2017 (10,810) and 2018 (11,711).
In 2022, the most sale notices have been published in Shelby County (496), followed by Hamilton County (304), Davidson County (271), and Knox County (223). Honorable mention to Williamson County (153) and Montgomery County (132).
The 3,316 figure for 2022 is an increase from 2021 (2,169). These drop aren’t entirely COVID driven, as Tennessee had just 5,982 sale notices published in the pre-pandemic glory days of 2019.
That low volume in 2019-2020 was the result of a number of factors, including COVID-related forbearances, sky-rocketing property values, and low interest rates. And, as you know, all of those factors are disappearing.
(Side-note: We can’t be sure about COVID, of course, but I’m pretty sure we won’t see mortgage rates in the 2’s and 3’s for a very long time.)
In the end, here’s where the bankers are probably right: There’s a backlog of foreclosures, and the crush is coming soon. The bankers are correct that the sky is falling; their timing was just off by a year.
Despite all the doom and gloom predictions, foreclosures haven’t skyrocketed in 2022.
Having said that, in the Middle Tennessee area, there remains a surprising amount of interest (and money) in the foreclosures that do happen. In June, I wrote about four foreclosure sales that were pending and, for every single one, at least 10 people showed up and, in the end, I had excess proceeds (meaning my lender client got paid and had money left over).
Long story short, the days of reading a foreclosure sale notice to nobody on the courthouse steps are, at least temporarily, over.
Based on the photos pulled from an old Loopnet listing, it’s right in the “off-interstate” commercial district, behind Bojangles Chicken (please note: my legal description, not these photos, controls what the buyer is buying).
At one point, the owner planned to build and operate a Taco John’s restaurant on the site. A complicated Chapter 11 later, however, and this commercial property is back on selling block.
Let me know if you would like additional information on this. I am the attorney for a creditor involved, and, as a result, I will be limited in what information and guidance that I can provide.
As with all distressed real estate sales, buyer beware, and hire a lawyer.
I had never met Bill Young, not until a September 2016 Chancery Court court docket, which–coincidentally–was his first ever court docket as a judge. And my case was the first case heard that day.
I can’t remember the exact issue, but I remember that, pretty quickly, I won the hearing. He ruled in my favor and asked me to prepare the Order. All good, right?
I have a thing I do when I win in Court. I leave the courtroom as soon as possible. Nothing good comes from lingering in court after you win. I don’t need judges reconsidering, or listening to more argument, or some surprise development.
I win. I thank the judge. Then I leave court.
But, that day, as I was leaving–in fact, I can still picture my hand on the big swinging door in Part II of Chancery Court–the Big Firm Lawyer who I beat was still arguing his case. And, worse, this new judge was listening.
So, I went back to counsel’s table, and I defended the logic of the original decision, and, ultimately, I won that hearing (and then left as soon as possible).
But, I also remember thinking “I’m not so sure about this new judge.“
As a litigator, my entire job depends on the quality of the judges I appear in front of. With any judge, I watch closely and form opinions about how they handle matters in front of them. Are they prepared? Are they respectful? Are they decisive? Are they smart? And, to a larger degree than is fair, did they agree with me? All very relevant factors to my job and my clients.
Because we had such little Chancery Court judicial turnover in Davidson County, I watched Chancellor Young very closely over those first months.
I’ll cut to the chase. Despite that early skepticism, I really, really enjoyed practicing in front of him during his time on the bench. I came to realize that his demeanor that first day wasn’t indecisiveness; it was a sincere desire to get it right and to make sure that both sides were fully heard.
In fact, the highest compliment I can give any judge is that I respect and trust them, no matter how they rule in my cases. That’s what I have said for years about Chancellors McCoy and Lyle–I don’t always win in front of them, but I trust them. It’s a compliment that I give begrudgingly, after they have earned it after doing good work as a judge.
I quickly felt that way about Bill Young. In fact, my two most vivid memories from court appearances in 2017 were two losses–both in front of Chancellor Young. And I respected both opinions. (As a disclaimer, however, I could argue both cases sitting here today and still feel like I had the better argument on both.)
What’s my point? Politics in this country are more divisive than they’ve been at any point in my lifetime. This divisiveness–bordering on spitefulness–has seeped into Tennessee politics. And I hate that.
Through its work and policy decisions, the Tennessee Attorney General plays a big role in many of those political decisions. When I look at the list of candidates, I see a number of “political” candidates, a few with extreme ideological backgrounds.
I don’t want them to be the next Attorney General. Our State deserves somebody who is cautious, deliberate, smart, and understands the value in making everybody in the state feel heard.
It’s an important decision that will impact the lives of Tennesseans for years to come. You can learn more about the applicants here, and all interviews are open to the public and will be livestreamed to the TNCourts YouTube page.
Everything that I have seen from Bill Young makes me think he’d do a great job as Attorney General for all of the people of the State of Tennessee.
The court cases where attorneys sue clients for unpaid legal fees always get my attention.
As an attorney who bills clients for my work and expects every client to pay every penny, I’m generally curious about what went wrong.
There are unhappy clients. Unhappy attorneys. Bills that are too high, or too late, or for work that made the client unhappy. When attorney-client relationships go bad, there’s always a lesson to be learned.
I won’t cover them all, but I will discuss one creditor’s rights high-point: When does a breach of contract occur?
Per this opinion, the six-year statute of limitations at Tenn. Code Ann. 28-3-109(a)(3) is calculated from the “termination of the attorney-client relationship,” and not from the date of the unpaid individual invoices.
The Court wrote that contracts can be “severable” or “entire,” with the relevant statute of limitation depending on the nature of the contract. Since the work at issue related to the same general engagement and the attorney’s work “would be continuously rendered over a period of time,” then, the attorney’s work was “entire.” As a result, “the statute of limitations begins to run only on the completion of such legal services” (or upon termination of the attorney’s work).
Here, the attorney filed the lawsuit (barely) within 6 years from the termination, but only after $136,283 in unpaid invoices had accumulated in the preceding 10 months (with many or most of those invoices coming due and unpaid longer than 6 years prior).
Honestly, I’d have thought that the statute would have run on some of those early invoices, but that the creditor would have had valid claims on the invoices that had gone into default within 6 years. Under this case, I would have been wrong.
Breaches, defaults, and calculating the statute of limitations isn’t as easy as you’d think. Remember this 2019 post about a debtor who didn’t make a payment for 8.5 years, but the Court found that each installment missed was an independent cause of action, resulting in a new, later statute of limitations for each new installment? I was also wrong about that one, because (as I wrote back then) “you’d think a six year old, long defaulted debt would have expired, well, six years from the default.”
To refresh your memory, debtor entered into a mortgage (final maturity date: February 1, 2021), and defaulted in 2008, but bank waited until 2016 to declare default and until 2017 to file the lawsuit.
Using the reasoning of this new case, could the Bank simply have argued that: (i) the 15 year mortgage is one, continuous debt; (ii) thus, the individual installment payments are payments on that debt and not severable obligations; (iii) and, as a result, the real statute of limitations on the failure to pay the 2008 installment payments didn’t start to run until the final maturity date on February 1, 2021?
The answer is, most likely, that the attorney’s future performance of services is indefinite and any invoices are merely progress billings toward that larger “entire” engagement, which is unlike a bank debt, which has definite and exact terms for the repayment. Having said that, though, a smart lawyer will have ample case citations to argue either direction.
In the end, I have two take-aways: (a) determining the date of breach is harder than you’d think; and (b) when in doubt, file your lawsuit sooner, rather than later.
After 2.5 years of not catching COVID, I began to think I was special. That, maybe, I had a rare, super-human immunity. That, at some point, future scientists would ask to study my blood to cure unknown diseases.
But, last Sunday, I woke up feeling terrible. My Sunday morning COVID test was negative, so I assumed I’d caught a summer cold.
After 2.5 years of wearing masks, avoiding crowds, and, generally, being really safe, I had hardly gotten sick and, maybe, this is what a cold feels like.
Reality hit two days later, when–still sick–I took another COVID test. And then another. I was 2 for 2 positive.
And I knew that I caught COVID in court.
My last big, pre-COVID night out on the town was a Friday night, February 28, 2020, the week before COVID hit. We went to Cross-Eyed Critters, the best karaoke spot in Nashville. It was the unofficial after-party for our kids’ Parent-Teacher fundraiser, and it was a night for the ages. In retrospect, it was also a post-COVID nightmare, with close talking, jam-packed seating, and no ventilation.
It was also the last time we’ve been in that type of crowd in the past 2.5 years. Early COVID was no joke, and we took it seriously. No more football games, concerts, restaurants, or crowded karaoke for us.
If we didn’t have to leave our house, we didn’t. And, to this day, we still don’t.
The biggest COVID risk for our family has always been me. I’m a lawyer (as you know), and my schedule isn’t always up to me. Part of a lawyer’s job is doing whatever is needed to represent their client, and I take that responsibility very seriously.
But, despite all the law articles about the Future of the Law, by July 2021, the future was trending back to “the way things have always been done.”
As Nashville lawyer Daniel Horwitz tweeted, “If you thought that we were at risk of staying in a quasi-21st century state of affairs—rather than instantly reverting back to the way law was practiced when people rode horses to court—I assure you, yours fears were never founded.”
And that’s, pretty much, where we find ourselves in July 2022.
It’s a shame, really, because so much of the technology, innovation, and streamlining that we did in response to COVID shouldn’t have been a stop-gap, it should have been permanent.
Those measures didn’t “work” simply because we all weren’t coming down with COVID; they worked because they they were keeping lawyers safe and, also, made the system faster, more efficient, and less expensive.
In a system based entirely on precedent, this wasn’t a surprise; I saw this all happening in November 2020: “8 months in, I haven’t yet seen the more comprehensive changes to court dockets and settings that I had expected. Instead, it’s been a little bit here, gauge the reaction, and then a little bit less in response. In the end, the court system seems to be only making minor tweaks to the ‘usual way of doing things,’ rather than embracing innovative models that could result in future improvements.”
Back then, it felt like we were missing a chance to really make things better. In retrospect, we absolutely did.
Going to court in modern downtown Nashville is a huge pain in the neck. Aside from the unbearable traffic, pedestrian congestion, beer trucks, and construction blockages, you also have to deal with expensive parking, onerous security, and, this time of year, southern heat.
Some matters and arguments may justify in-person hearings. “Bet the company” arguments? Custody battles? Life and liberty at stake? Sure.
The day I caught COVID, I was in court on a heavy docket, opposing a pro se hand-written nonsense Motion (seriously, a piece of paper with a frowny-face would have had more factual or legal basis than what I was dealing with). It was one of the busiest days in Davidson County that I’d seen in years, as I tweeted an hour into my wait:
An hour later, I was still waiting:
My pro se defendant never even showed up, so I ended up winning, but I also sat in a busy courtroom from 8:30 to about noon, just watching other cases (big and small) get argued and responding to emails.
I’m not mad at the Judge on my matter (who is awesome); in fact, when my case was called, he apologized and I assured him that “somebody is last on every docket.” It’s part of being a litigator, right? (Plus, I get to bill for all that.)
But, on a broader level, what’s keeping the court system from putting policies in place that separate cases on a mega-docket into “Will take 30 minutes” and “Will take 5 minutes” stacks and, then, “No hearing needed” or “Phone hearing” stacks?
The Judges can’t enjoy this present system, where 20-30 matters of varying complexity are randomly jumbled together on a Friday morning and the Judges are forced to play whack-a-mole, mixed with lightning-round legal analysis.
If this system is just out of habit and custom, let’s fix that right now. Even without a global pandemic, this can’t be the best way to handle cases.
In my personal life, I’ve valued health and safety over really fun things, like Grizzlies playoff games, exotic trips, and karaoke. But, in my professional life, it’s frustrating to take on so much risk, when it’s both unnecessary and unjustified.
Two years in, we have all this experience and technology, but, nevertheless, we are handling hearing dockets than the same way we did it 100 years ago.
My sharing this experience isn’t meant to complain or scold anybody, but to talk openly about my experience. I know so many lawyers and court staff who have caught COVID in court, but we don’t talk about it, because…it’s embarrassing or we don’t talk about being sick? I don’t know. But, if not talking about it means that we don’t realize it’s a problem, then I hope my story starts that conversation.
In the end, my COVID has passed pretty easily, but I also worry about the people who I came into contact with on Sunday and Monday, before I realized what I had.
What’s worse is, as I type this on Friday morning, my 9 year old daughter woke up with a fever. All because I sat in court last week for 3 plus hours on something that should have taken 3 minutes.
The biggest COVID risk for our family has always been me.
People are getting sick, and we have the ability to reduce the risk. Why aren’t we? What I can do to help?
Tennessee is a non-judicial foreclosure state. In order to foreclose on somebody’s house or commercial property, all a lender must do is mail the proper paperwork to the proper parties. A lawsuit or other court involvement is not necessary.
That’s a drastic over-simplification, but, basically, it’s true.
In fact, when I did my first-ever foreclosure 20 years ago, I was so nervous about not having a court involved in such a complex and significant process that I filed a judicial foreclosure action. That way, at the end, I’d have a Judge’s blessing that “This was done correctly.”
What happens to a sale if the foreclosure attorney doesn’t do the paperwork correctly? Is it a valid sale? Can it be challenged?
Yesterday, the Tennessee Court of Appeals reminded us all that even a defective sale can convey good title, at Brady L. Daniels Et Al. v. Vince Trotter, E2020-01452-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. July 20, 2022).
In the case, it was alleged that the creditor did not provide proper notice of the sale, per Tenn. Code Ann. § 35-5-101(e). In the opinion, the Court discussed what, if any, impact of a failure to get the paperwork correct would have on the sale and cited two statutes.
The first, Tenn. Code Ann. § 35-5-106, provides that “[s]hould the officer, or other person making the sale, proceed to sell without pursuing the provisions of this chapter, the sale shall not, on that account, be either void or voidable.”
The second, Tenn. Code Ann. § 35-5-107, provides that the officer or other individual making the sale who fails to comply with the requirements in this chapter of conducting a private foreclosure sale is guilty of a class C misdemeanor and is liable for all damages incurred by the party injured due to his or her noncompliance.
These two statutes, the Court noted, are “intended to eliminate the uncertainty with land titles resulting from foreclosure sales.” Citing the Tennessee Supreme Court, the Court later wrote that a defect in a foreclosure process would not result in the sale being set aside but, instead, the damaged party would simply be entitled to compensatory damages.
I tell non-lawyers all the time that, when in doubt, you can expect “the law” to favor the fair and equitable outcome. This is an exception.
Here, a creditor can totally screw up the foreclosure process–can fail to send the owner notice, fail to publish the sale notice, can fail to show up at the sale (maybe?)–but can nevertheless convey clear title to the owner’s property. And the owner can’t challenge the conveyance. All because Tennessee law values the sanctity of “land titles.”
I’m not suggesting that the Court of Appeals got it wrong; in fact, they are following the law exactly. Instead, this is one of those places where the law isn’t fair and, maybe, needs to be changed.
“Every day” would be exaggeration. But, “every other day” isn’t.
Every other day, I’m reading in the Nashville Post about some out of town Big Law firm buying a Nashville law firm or practice group (or, as Rex Hammock says “acquihire“). Or poaching a bunch of lawyers (or a few). Or just local firms shuffling lawyers like a deck of cards.
It’s absolutely nuts, and I love it. It’s like the NBA trade-deadline, but far more boring–unless you’re a lawyer, and you like gossip (two things that will be on my gravestone).
A few weeks ago, I had a pre-trial lunch with a lawyer from Jones Day in Atlanta, and I asked him if the Atlanta legal market is this crazy with attorney movement. He said, yes, but for associate attorneys.
There was a bit of condescension involved, but implicit in his response was the suggestion that, maybe, this suggests that Nashville is joining the big leagues. Part of becoming one of the “big cities” is being taken over by the “big” law firms.
For years, the Big Law firms never paid any attention to Nashville. Nashville’s legal market was ruled, largely, by home-grown, home-managed law firms whose footprint generally extended a few counties in any direction, but rarely beyond the state lines. Small firms, with big personalities.
If a Big Law firm had a Big Client who needed help in Nashville, they’d call one of the 3-4 big(-ish) Nashville law firms to serve as local counsel. But, in general, the Big Law Firms didn’t think they needed to be actually in Nashville.
That’s what has changed. The national/global law firms now realize they need to be here and are having to catch up by “buying” into the Nashville market. Atlanta isn’t seeing this constant shuffling, because, frankly, all the Big Firms are already in Atlanta.
And what a boon it’s been in Nashville. You know those random calls you get asking if you’d sell your house? That’s what’s happening. But with lawyers.
I’m curious about what the next 4-5 years holds in store in the Nashville market. Part of what has made Nashville’s legal world special is the eccentric independence of so many firms here in town. Sure, there are local folks you dislike having cases with, but at least you know them.
After a bunch of out-of-towners start buying up your neighbors’ houses, your property increases in value. But you don’t know your neighbors anymore.
For a while, I was afraid to even mention all the local moves, worrying that this group or that group would think this post was about them. But that was probably 50 acquihires ago. This post is, literally, about the entire market (since we’ve all seemed to switch firms since 2019).
As long-time readers know, when I get busy with work, this blog suffers. As I’m nearing my anniversary of my firm’s current incarnation, I’ll be posting more, mainly as a way to share and discuss this solo- and small practice adventure over the last few years.
I’m involved in a number of Nashville foreclosures right now, and here are some details for some pending sales for anyone looking to buy. (As always, the typical disclaimer: Nothing in this post, of course, is designed to give you legal or factual advice about these sales.)
(1) 1018 Riverwood Boulevard, Hermitage TN: June 21, 2022 at 10 am (thisTuesday). Sale to be conducted by Republic Bank, from an alleged second lien position, subject to a first from 2011 in the original amount of $178,837. Zillow Value: $490,600.
(2) 810 Bellevue Road, Unit 214, Nashville, TN 37221: June 22, 2022 at 10 am (thisWednesday). Sale to be conducted by HOA, from an alleged second lien position, subject to a first from 2003 in the original amount of $76,500. Zillow Value: $222,400.
(3) 1011 Murfreesboro Road, #A-4, Franklin, Tennessee 37064: June 22, 2022 at 1 pm (thisWednesday). Sale to be conducted by HOA, from an alleged second lien position, subject to a first from 2012 in the original amount of $56,500. Zillow Value:$359,500.
Please let me know if you would like additional information on any of these. I am the attorney for a creditor involved, and, as a result, I will be limited in what information and guidance that I can provide.
As with all distressed real estate sales, buyer beware, and hire a lawyer.
It’s news-worthy because it seems like such a jerk thing to do, especially given the public persona of Sudeikis, who is famous for playing the nicest character on modern TV and, generally, regarded as a nice person in real life.
Personally, in trying serve an evasive defendant, I’ve researched social media, court dockets, or anything else that will help me locate where and when the defendant may be. My process server has shown up holding a bouquet of flowers, an empty cardboard box, and waited at the end of a bike race, looking for Racer # 3433 at the finish line.
So, did Sudeikis do something wrong? It depends. Was Olivia Wilde evading service, requiring them to go to this extra mile to “catch” her? We don’t know that.
But, we do know this: This move is inflammatory and is going to make this litigation more difficult. As lawyers, we are faced with all sorts of “allowed” procedural tactics that sound great on paper, but that can also skew litigation into scorched earth territories in real life. Part of a good lawyer’s job is to talk clients out of those tactics and focus on the bigger picture.
But, looking at the big picture, the damage may already be done. This custody battle just got a lot more contentious. And, honestly, it’s going to be weird watching Ted Lasso manage his own divorce and custody issues knowing what I know about this messy real-life drama.
Last night, I hosted a neighborhood “meet and greet” for a judicial candidate, and one of my neighbors told me something I didn’t know: We all watch your front yard, to see which candidate signs you have.
At the party, I saw this in real time, as neighbors showed up with pens, the Davidson County sample ballot mailing, and lots of questions.
If you put me in a roomful of people asking me questions, I’ll talk. Having said that, it was terrifying, seeing people circle names (or “X” out others) based just on what I was saying.
But, our city needs good judges and, as I shared my thoughts, I realized that my first-hand knowledge was useful to these people, who had never set foot in the courthouse. I go to courts in Davidson County for a living and nothing impacts my work as much as the quality of the local judiciary. So, I offered my honest and measured comments on each race.
I’ll share (some of) my comments with you all too:
First Circuit Court Judge (Division 1): I pick David Briley over Wendy Longmire. David has a compassionate heart for regular people and a calling to public service, coupled with a strong legal mind. I worked at a law firm with David Briley for more than 13 years, so I’m biased–but in a good way. He regularly represented individuals in personal injury cases, as well as pitched in on the biggest cases the firm handled. Personally, he and I teamed up on a construction lawsuit against one of America’s largest fast food chains, and I got to see him operate in my world. I was impressed (and so was my client). He’s also a nice, conscientious person. He’s someone who I trust to make the right decision.
Seventh Circuit Court Judge (Division 7): This is the Probate Court, and I don’t do probate law. But I know somebody who does it all the time: Andra Hedrick. And she’s running for Probate Judge. By my own review, she’s the most qualified candidate in terms of actual, practical experience. She’d be a great probate judge.
Eight Circuit Court Judge (Division 8): I support Kelvin Jones, the incumbent. He’s smart (look at his resume), and, when I can support candidates whose background and race reflect the larger community they serve, I have promised to do it. If you talk to him, you’ll see that he cares. This is a tough one (people I trust really disagree on these candidates), and I approached this race with a very open mind. I have gone to events for both candidates, and I see a clear argument for both. In short, do your research, and I won’t argue with you on this one.
Criminal Court Judge (Division 5): Whenever a big criminal case is shown on the news, it tends to have Monte Watkins as the judge. And he always does a good job. He’s a good judge and a good person.
District Attorney: My first legal job was a summer clerkship at the Shelby County District Attorney General’s Office, and I learned, quickly, that it’s a hard job. Glenn Funk is doing a good job. I don’t do criminal defense, so my measure is how often do I–as a regular citizen–hear complaints about the DA’s office (like what happens in other cities). I just don’t hear about problems with Funk’s office. I trust him and his values.
Chancery Court Part III: There may be no court that I care more about than Chancery Court, Part III. “Chancellor Lyle is the best judge I’ve ever appeared in front of,” and this is her court. When she announced her retirement, I was curious about who would be brave and bold enough to fill those shoes. I am pleased that my friend and former colleague, I’Ashea Myles, is that person. Myles isn’t just running for office, she’s looking to make history as the state’s first ever African-American female chancellor. We need judges who have guts. She’s got my vote.
General Sessions Judge, Division III:Melissa Blackburn may be the hardest working Judge in Davison County. Civil Dockets. Criminal Dockets. The Mental Health Court. The Veterans Court. And, to be announced later today, a new project helping to move individuals ruled incompetent through the system in a way that gets them help–and maybe out of the system.
General Sessions Judge, Division VI: No matter what type of case, I’d trust Jim Todd to get it right.
General Sessions Judge, Division VII: The first 2022 election sign that I put in my yard was for Marcus Floyd. He’s a great, smart guy (and a Hillsboro High graduate), and he’ll be an asset to this city for decades to come.
General Sessions Judge, Division VIII: This is also a close one, with spirited and smart people on each side. In a close race, I tend to favor the incumbent, Rachel Bell. Some folks may complain about the start time of her dockets, but I’d point out what she’s done to help people in Davidson County avoid eviction during the pandemic with the L.E.G.A.C.Y. Housing Resource Diversionary Court and Program, which has helped thousands of tenants (and, yes, landlords–as of September 20, 2021: $18,799,705.71 had been paid to landlords), and also her long-standing expungement clinics.
General Sessions Judge, Division IX: I appreciate that, no matter the case, Judge Lynda Jones never treats any case (or litigant) as a “small” claims matter. She is focused on getting it right, including past efforts to create a business docket in General Sessions. She’s ambitious and works hard.
Circuit Court Clerk: The current clerk, Ricky Rooker, is one of the best in the state, partly because he’s been doing it for so long. Everything they do seems to take lawyers’ needs into account, and they had a smooth transition to a very effective e-filing system in 2020. Part of that success was due to Rooker having a very good deputy, Joseph Day, who is now running for Clerk. If it isn’t broke, don’t change it. I’m voting for Day.
If you were at the house party, you probably got a bit more color and background on some of these races.
You’ll notice that there are a handful of races I’m not commenting on. I haven’t voted yet, and I plan to keep on researching those. This list may evolve. I’m researching all of these until the day I cast my own; they are imporant races.
Finally, this list is biased by my own interactions, experiences, and past; please do your own research.