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Editorial Results (free)

1. Appeals Court Upholds Dismissal of 'Soul Man' Suit -

Sam Moore may be "The Legendary Soul Man," but a federal appeals court says he doesn't have sole use of the title.

2. Appeals Court Upholds Dismissal of 'Soul Man' Suit -

Sam Moore may be "The Legendary Soul Man," but a federal appeals court says he doesn't have sole use of the title.

3. Elvis/Stax Confluence Blunted By Marketing -

Roger Semon of Sony Music Entertainment knows the music business and Elvis Presley’s sound like few others do.

And he knows where RCA, Presley’s record label, went wrong in marketing what should have been a historic intersection of Presley with Stax Records.

4. Commission Debates Schools Court Moves, Ends Redistricting Case -

Shelby County Commissioners have dropped their appeal in the Chancery Court lawsuit over redistricting and ended the protracted political dispute.

But the commission also voted Monday, Oct. 8, to replenish its contingency fund with $800,000 for the legal fees in the continuing federal lawsuit over municipal school districts.

5. Election Winners Take Oaths of Office -

The Labor Day weekend served as a political marker for past and future events in Memphis politics.

The four Shelby County general election winners from the Aug. 2 vote are officially in office as the weekend ends and the workweek begins.

6. County Sees 21.6 Pct. Voter Turnout -

Slightly less than 127,000 Shelby County residents – or 21.6 percent of 584,443 registered voters – cast ballots in the Aug. 2 elections.

The turnout in early voting and election day combined was a higher percentage than the 15 percent turnout four years ago in the same election cycle, but it was well below the 44-year high of 39.4 percent set in the August 1992 elections.

7. General Sessions Contenders Seek Changes to Office -

On a hot Saturday afternoon in Whitehaven, more than 100 people crammed themselves into an air-conditioned storefront to boost the bid by General Sessions Court Clerk Ed Stanton Jr. to remain the clerk of Shelby County’s largest civil court.

8. City’s Music Hitting Some High Notes -

THE MEMPHIS SOUND HAS A NEW GIG. Memphis has had plenty of superstars, but the beat behind them and underneath and around them, the bass they stood on, the lead they followed, the brass that announced them and made them royalty – that beat was a superstar all by itself.

9. GOP Politics Resemble 2008 In Tennessee -

This time around, leaders of the Tennessee Republican Party were convinced their choice in the Republican presidential contest would be a match with voters in the state’s presidential primary.

Four years ago, when former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee carried Shelby County and took the state, the party argued convincingly that the state’s second choice for the nomination – former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney – was a victim of the move of the Super Tuesday primaries to February.

10. Santorum Carries Shelby and State, Jackson Out As Clerk -

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum carried Shelby County and the state of Tennessee in the Tuesday, March 6, Republican Presidential primary.

And incumbent but suspended General Sessions Court Clerk Otis Jackson finished a poor third in a Democratic primary battle for the clerk’s office that was won by interim clerk Ed Stanton in the closest contest of the night over County Commission chairman Sidney Chism.

11. Santorum Carries Shelby In Early Vote - Stanton in Clerk's Race -

Early vote totals in Shelby County confirmed what happened across the state in the Republican presidential primary Tuesday, March 6.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum took the early vote over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was third.

12. Honors Continue For Architect Of Memphis Sound -

Memphis music icon Willie Mitchell was honored on what would have been his 84th birthday last week with a Tennessee state historical marker at his Royal Studios.

13. Voters Turn Out Today For Primary Races -

The first thing parishioners at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church noticed before noon Mass, Sunday, March 4, was a line of black SUVs in the parking lot of the Cordova church. A back row at the church was filled with men wearing the same color suits.

14. Primary Battle Starts Locally With Early Voting -

Early voting in the Tennessee presidential primary begins Wednesday, Feb. 15, but the Republican presidential contenders have Arizona and Michigan on their minds.

The early voting period in advance of the March 6 Election Day also includes a set of Shelby County primaries for General Sessions Court clerk, Shelby County district attorney general, property assessor and one Shelby County Commission seat. The winners in those primaries advance to the August county general election ballot.

15. Woodward Joins Crowded Primary -

A public meeting is about to begin, and within one minute of attendees’ arrival, they are handed campaign literature for rival candidates running in the same local primary.

It’s obviously the thick of political season.

16. Election Commission Website Causes Confusion -

The information was there somewhere on the www.shelbyvote.com website, Shelby County Election Commission staffers insist.

It was just somewhere that most politicos interested in basic information about the four countywide races on the March 6 primary ballot couldn’t find.

17. County Primary Ballot Set With 3 Exits and 2 DQs - One of the four sets of Shelby County primaries on the March 6 ballot was decided at the Thursday, Dec. 15, deadline for candidates to withdraw from the ballot.

The Shelby County Election Commission Thursday certified 16 candidates in the two sets of primaries for four county offices and one independent candidate who advances automatically to the Aug. 2 county general elections.

18. Weirich and Ross Unopposed At Filing Deadline -

Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich appeared to have no opposition in the March GOP primary for the job as the county’s top prosecutor.

19. Weirich and Ross Unopposed At Filing Deadline -

Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich appeared to have no opposition in the March GOP primary for the job as the county’s top prosecutor.

20. Deadline Looms For Candidates In March Primaries -

There is the paperwork and there are the deadlines in politics. And then there are the campaigns that begin long before the paperwork or deadlines.

One group of candidates in the 2012 election cycle is approaching its first deadline Thursday, Dec. 8, at noon – the filing deadline for the March 6 county primaries.

21. Stanton Pulls Petition for Gen. Sess. Court Clerk -

The interim General Sessions Court clerk has pulled a qualifying petition to run for the office in the March Democratic primary.

Ed Stanton Jr. was appointed interim clerk in August after General Sessions Court judges suspended clerk Otis Jackson following his indictment on four counts of official misconduct.

22. Stanton Picks Up For Gen Sessions Court Clerk -

The interim General Sessions Court Clerk has pulled a qualifying petition to run for the office in the March Democratic primary.

Ed Stanton Jr. was appointed interim clerk in August after General Sessions Court Judges suspended clerk Otis Jackson following his indictment on four counts of official misconduct.

23. Chism Vying With Jackson for Court Clerk -

With one week to the filing deadline, the race for General Sessions Court Clerk is the busiest of the four races to be decided next year in the March 6 county primaries and the Aug. 2 general elections.

24. Chism Vying With Jackson for GS Court Clerk -

With one week to the filing deadline, the race for General Sessions Court Clerk is the busiest of the four races to be decided next year in the March 6 county primaries and the Aug. 2 general elections.

25. Gaining Respect -

Although known the world over as the adopted hometown of the king of rock ‘n’ roll, Memphis also gave birth to the queen of soul.

Aretha Franklin is typically associated with the city of Detroit, but the music icon spent the first two years of her life near the Soulsville neighborhood in South Memphis, where her father served as a prominent Baptist minister in the 1930s and 1940s.

26. Jackson’s Suspension, Lawsuit Point Out State Law Paradox -

After he was indicted last month by the Shelby County grand jury on four counts of official misconduct, General Sessions Court Clerk Otis Jackson said voters put him in office and only they could take him out of office.

27. Jackson Sues Judges Over Suspension -

General Sessions Court Clerk Otis Jackson is suing the General Sessions Court Judges who suspended him from office earlier this week.

28. Jackson Suspended as General Sessions Court Clerk -

General Sessions Court Clerk Otis Jackson has been suspended for 60 days by the judges of the civil and criminal divisions of General Sessions Court. The suspension was announced Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 3.

29. Jackson Suspended as General Sessions Court Clerk -

General Sessions Court Clerk Otis Jackson has been suspended for 60 days by the judges of the civil and criminal divisions of General Sessions Court. The suspension was announced Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 3.

30. Otis Jackson Indicted for Official Misconduct -

General Sessions Court Clerk Otis Jackson has been indicted on four state charges of official misconduct.

Jackson was booked on the charges Monday, July 11, following the indictment by the Shelby County grand jury.

31. Jackson Indicted for Official Misconduct -

General Sessions Court Clerk Otis Jackson has been indicted on four state charges of official misconduct.

32. Reappraisal Appeals Increase County Red Ink -

As the week began, the Luttrell administration upped the gap between revenues and expenditures in its county operating budget proposal by approximately $4 million.

County chief administrative officer Harvey Kennedy told county commissioners Wednesday the amount of red ink has increased to a total of $16.6 million because of lower revenue estimates for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

33. Turner Stays on To Lead Local Democrats -

Van Turner Jr. remains the Shelby County Democratic Party chairman after a weekend local party convention.

And Turner, who ran unopposed for the chairmanship, is hoping for a reversal of party fortunes in the next two years.

34. From Policeman to Prosecutor, Presley Maintains Perspective -

In Danny Presley’s position, it never hurts to have perspective and a healthy sense of self. In fact, those traits are necessary for survival, so Presley lives by two rules: Never take yourself too seriously, and lighten up.

35. Dear Santa -

Dear Santa, Please consider my gift list for our local elected officials. After all, they’ve been giving it to us all year.

To all: Common Sense – a simple grid for MATA routes, consolidated city and county services, cutting the grass, sidewalk maintenance, paying attention to review board and appointed commission recommendations.

36. County Atty: Jackson Strong-Armed Clerk Employees -

Two years after Otis Jackson upset incumbent Republican General Sessions Court Clerk Chris Turner, Jackson is the focus of a criminal investigation that could end his brief time in elected office.

37. County Atty: Jackson Put Strong-Arm On Clerk Employees -

The same day last month that General Sessions Court Clerk Otis Jackson called his employees to a “mandatory” meeting about his political ambitions, one of those employees reported him to the Shelby County attorney’s office.

38. Commission Considers IT Consolidation, New Position -

Shelby County commissioners take up the issue of consolidation once again at Monday’s meeting of the body.

It’s not consolidation of city and county governments, though. Voters dealt with that on the Nov. 2 ballot.

39. CBRE Lands Leasing Contract With Parkway -

The Memphis office of CB Richard Ellis Inc. will handle marketing and leasing services for Parkway Realty Service’s Memphis office building portfolio, the company announced this week.

40. GOP Carries Countywide Offices -

The only thing Republican candidates in Shelby County were denied in the Aug. 5 elections was a majority on the Shelby County Commission. The local GOP slate swept every countywide partisan race on the ballot with Thursday’s election results.

Voter turnout – early and Election Day – was almost 30 percent of Shelby County’s 600,000 voters. All election returns will be audited and must be certified by the Shelby County Election Commission.

Republican Bill Oldham, the former chief deputy of the Sheriff’s Department under outgoing Sheriff Mark Luttrell, beat Democrat Randy Wade in the race for sheriff.

The unofficial returns with all precincts reporting were:

Oldham: 89,613 (52%)

Wade: 82,981 (48%)

Wade, who was the Democratic nominee for sheriff in 2002, linked his 2010 campaign to the re-election bid of Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen. Wade, a former sheriff’s deputy, is Cohen’s district director.

Oldham campaigned on continuing the policies of Luttrell. But his campaign faltered when Oldham was forced to resign his job as chief deputy – the No. 2 position in the department – following a complaint to the U.S. Justice Department that his candidacy violated the Federal Hatch Act.

The civil complaint investigated by the Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel left Oldham with the choice of either quitting the job or quitting the race. To keep both could have jeopardized federal funding the department receives.

The complaint was unique because deputies and high-ranking officers running for sheriff has been a regular feature of the sheriff’s race for decades. It wasn’t until 2002 that those in the department were required to take a leave of absence if they ran.

In other general election races, challenger Ken Hoover lost to Shelby County School Board Chairman David Pickler in the race for the District 5 seat on the seven-member board.

Pickler has been chairman for 11 of the 12 years the school board has been an elected body. Pickler ran on his record as chairman. Hoover also ran on Pickler’s record, saying his leadership style was too autocratic and not transparent enough.

The unofficial results were:

Pickler: 5,123 (51%)

Hoover: 4,956 (49%)

In the two other contested school board races, former Bolton High School principal Snowden “Butch” Carruthers beat Millington parent Charlene White in District 1. And political newcomer David Reaves beat fellow newcomer Lara A. McIntyre, both of Bartlett, for the District 3 seat.

White and McIntyre both called for change in school board methods during their campaigns.

District 7 school board member Ernest Chism ran unopposed.

The even-numbered district school board seats are on the 2012 county ballot.

After running for Probate Court clerk three other times, Democratic nominee Sondra Becton could not claim the office on her fourth try – even with the incumbent she campaigned against the three other times out of the race. Republican contender Paul Boyd easily beat Becton in the race for the office Chris Thomas gave up to run for and win a seat on the Shelby County Commission.

Becton lost to Thomas by 604 votes four years ago and was among the four Democratic challengers who unsuccessfully challenged the results in Chancery Court. This time she lost by more than 6,500 votes.

The vote totals were:

Boyd: 82,259 (52%)

Becton: 75,702 (48%)

Republican Tom Leatherwood easily defeated Democratic challenger Coleman Thompson to remain Shelby County register. The two faced each other in 2006, with Leatherwood winning.

The results Thursday were:

Leatherwood: 96,531 (58%)

Thompson: 68,784 (42%)

As early voting began, Thompson’s Pyramid Recovery Center was evicted from its longtime South Memphis space that was also an early voting site and an election day polling place. The landlord agreed to leave the voting sites up and running. But the possibility of a change in polling places served to highlight Thompson’s financial problems.

Late publicity about financial problems took a toll on another Democratic contender.

Newcomer Corey Maclin began campaigning early for Shelby County clerk, with incumbent Republican Debbie Stamson not seeking re-election. Maclin lost to Republican nominee Wayne Mashburn, the son of late county clerk Sonny Mashburn.

The unofficial returns were:

Mashburn: 88,619 (55%)

Maclin: 72,651 (45%)

Stamson’s husband, Steve Stamson, retired as Juvenile Court clerk, setting up the race that was won by Republican nominee Joy Touliatos, the chief administrative officer of the clerk’s office. She beat Democratic nominee Shep Wilbun, who won appointment to the clerk’s office in 2000 but lost to Stamson in the 2002 election and was beaten by Stamson again in 2006.

With all precincts reporting, the numbers were:

Touliatos: 85,849 (51%)

Wilbun: 73,345 (44%)

The remaining votes went to independent candidate Julia R. Wiseman.

Also seeking a return to countywide office was Minerva Johnican. Johnican, the Democratic nominee for Criminal Court clerk, lost to Republican nominee Kevin Key, the son of outgoing Criminal Court Clerk Bill Key and an administrator with the Circuit Court Clerk’s office.

The results were:

Key: 79,755 (49%)

Johnican: 74,831 (46%)

Independent candidate Jerry Stamson: 8,581 (5%)

Johnican, also a former Memphis City Council member and Shelby County Commissioner lost the clerk’s job in 1994 when she was upset by the elder Key.

Incumbent Republican Circuit Court Clerk Jimmy Moore easily defeated Democratic challenger Ricky Dixon. Although Dixon was part of the effort by Democratic party leaders to get voters to vote the entire party slate, Moore continued to show up at Democratic functions and make his case for crossover votes.

Regina Morrison Newman, the third Shelby County tustee in four years, lost her bid for a full term in the office to Republican challenger David Lenoir. It was an impressive political debut for Lenoir, who had heavy backing from the local GOP.

The results were:

Lenoir: 77,166 (49%)

Newman: 72,618 (46%)

Independent candidate Derrick Bennett: 6,353 (4%)

Newman was appointed to the office by the Shelby County Commission following the 2009 death of Trustee Paul Mattila. Mattila was appointed to the office and won a special election for the position following the 2008 death of Bob Patterson. Patterson was re-elected to a four-year term in 2006.

In the judicial races:

Attorney Bill Anderson Jr. emerged atop a field of 20 candidates for General Sessions Criminal Court Judge Div. 7 with 15 percent of the vote. Assistant County Attorney Janet Lansky Shipman was second and the only other contender to go into double digit percentages. The 20 candidates were the largest field in any race – primary or general – on the Shelby County ballot.

Prosecutor Bobby Carter, who had the backing of District Attorney General Bill Gibbons and former District Attorney General John Pierotti, was elected judge of Criminal Court Div. 3 in a close race with attorneys Glenn Wright and Latonya Sue Burrow.

Carter got 26 percent of the vote to Wright’s 25 percent and Burrow’s 24.7 percent.

The results in the three other special judicial races saw the three appointed judges rejected by voters.

  • Lee Wilson, the appointee to General Sessions Criminal Court Judge Div. 10, lost to former General Sessions Court Clerk Chris Turner by more than 64,000 votes. Turner’s victory was the strongest proof of the strong Republican turnout for races across the general election ballot. Turner had been the General Sessions Court clerk until 2006, when he was upset by Democratic challenger Otis Jackson. He is also a former Republican state legislator.
  • Lorrie Ridder, the appointee to Circuit Court Judge Div. 4, lost to attorney Gina Higgins by about 5,000 votes.
  • Rhynette Northcross Hurd, the appointee to Circuit Court Judge Div. 8, lost to attorney Bob Weiss by more than 12,000 votes.

Ridder and Hurd had been appointed to the Circuit Court vacancies by Gov. Phil Bredesen, who picked them each from a list of three finalists from the Judicial Nominating Commission. Bredesen even taped a robo-call on behalf of Hurd, his first robo-call for any candidate in the state.

Wilson was appointed to the General Sessions vacancy by the Shelby County Commission and adopted a domestic violence case docket for the court.

...

41. DECISION '10: Mayor’s Race a Contest Between Contrasting Styles -

The race for Shelby County mayor offers a choice between two very different politicians who, while in the political spotlight for years, have often been near the edges of that light.

Joe Ford, the interim Shelby County mayor and Democratic nominee, is a former Shelby County Commissioner and City Council member. He has served as chairman of both legislative bodies. Ford also is the face of the city’s most storied political family.

42. Ford Name Plays Into Election Victory -

It didn’t work for Myron Lowery in last year’s special election for Memphis mayor.

But Joe Ford won the Democratic nomination for Shelby County mayor this week by running from the office.

43. Ford Wins Democratic Mayoral Primary -  

Interim County Mayor Joe Ford became the Democratic nominee for mayor in the August county general elections Tuesday night.

And the August sheriff’s race will be a contest between Democrat Randy Wade and Republican Randy Wade.

All three were among the winners in Tuesday’s low turnout county primaries.

Approximately ten percent of Shelby County’s nearly 600,000 voters cast ballots in early voting and election day polling.

Ford, who was appointed interim mayor in December, beat County Commissioner Deidre Malone and General Sessions Court Clerk Otis Jackson in the Democratic primary. He will face Republican Mark Luttrell who had only token opposition in the Republican primary from perennial contender Ernie Lunati.

Luttrell has raised more money than all three of the Democratic primary contenders combined and began running television ads in the last week runup to election day.

The final unofficial totals in the Democratic mayoral primary are:

Ford 20,360 57%

Malone 12,916 37%

Jackson 2,168 6%

The pair of primaries for Sheriff featured eight candidates, seven of whom either currently work for the sheriff’s department or are past employees. Only Reginald French, in the Democratic primary was not a former or current department official.

Wade was the 2002 Democratic nominee, losing to Luttrell who is leaving as Sheriff after serving two terms. French was the Democratic nominee in the 2006 elections.

Oldham is Luttrell’s chief deputy, the number two position in the department. He is also a former director of the Memphis Police Department.

The final unofficials totals in the Republican primary are:

Bill Oldham 13,821 48%

Dale Lane 7,981 28%

Bobby Simmons 5,886 21%

James Coleman 943 3%

In the Democratic primary:

Randy Wade 22,643 67%

Reginald French 6,777 20%

Larry Hill 2,738 8%

Bennie Cobb 1,814 5%

Voters in the primary elections decided to return six Shelby County commissioners to new four year terms with Tuesday’s results. They also elected six new commissioners. The winner of the thirteenth commission seat will be decided on the August general election ballot in a contest between district 5 Democratic incumbent Steve Mulroy and Republican challenger Dr. Rolando Toyos. The winner of the match up will determine whether the commission remains majority Democrat or goes majority Republican.

Mulroy easily defeated Jennings Bernard in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

Republican incumbent Mike Ritz ran unopposed as did new Democratic commissioner Walter Bailey.

In the remaining ten contests, the primaries decided who gets the seats since no one ran in the opposing party’s primary.

The most hotly contested contest among the commission races was for District 4 Position 1. Outgoing Probate Court Clerk Chris Thomas beat John Pellicciotti, appointed to a commission seat last year but running for a different position in the same district. Jim Bomprezzi, the former mayor of Lakeland, was the third contender in the contest.

The final unofficial totals in the Republican primary:

Thomas 7,631 52%

Pellicciotti 4,871 33%

Bomprezzi 2,298 15%

In position 2 of the same district incumbent Republican Wyatt Bunker easily overcame two challengers with former Lakeland alderman John Wilkerson finishing second and Ron Fittes finishing third.

Millington businessman Terry Roland claimed the third position in the district that takes in all six of Shelby County’s suburban towns and cities.

Roland beat George Chism to take the seat Pellicciotti was appointed to but opted not to run for in deference to Roland.

Heidi Shafer, an aide to outgoing County Commissioner George Flinn, claimed Flinn’s District 1 Position 2 seat over Albert Maduska.in the GOP primary.

District 1 incumbent Republican Mike Carpenter easily beat businessman Joe Baier.

In the Democratic commission primaries, Melvin Burgess claimed Malone’s District 2 Position 3 seat in a field of six contenders. His closest contender was Reginald Milton. Burgess, a city school system audit manager, had run for the seat before. He brought in 54 percent of the vote.

The other hard fought Democratic commission primary saw Justin Ford, son of the interim mayor, claim his father’s District 3 Position 3 seat.

Ford beat Edith Moore, a retired IBM executive, whom the commission appointed to the seat after the elder Ford became mayor.

The final unofficial vote totals are:

Ford 7,342 66%

Moore 3,822 34%

Democratic incumbent commissioners Henri Brooks, Sidney Chism and James Harvey were all re-elected over primary challengers.

The county-wide primaries for seven clerk’s positions saw the return of former Criminal Court Clerk Minerva Johnican 16 years after Republican challenger Bill Key took her job. Johnican decisively beat Ralph White and Vernon Johnson in her first bid for office since the 1994 defeat. She will face Republican Kevin Key, the son of Bill Key in the August general election.

The final unofficial vote totals are:

Johnican 16,381 51%

White 10,170 31%

Johnson 5,954 18%

Former Juvenile Court Clerk Shep Wilbun easily won the Democratic primary with 76 percent of the vote to face Republican Joy Touliatos in August for the office being vacated by Republican Steve Stamson. Touliatos was unopposed in the primary.

Democrat Coleman Thompson is back for another go at incumbent Republican Register Tom Leatherwood.

Aside from Leatherwood, Jimmy Moore is the only other of the seven clerks seeking re-election. Moore ran unopposed in the GOP primary. He will face Democrat Ricky Dixon in August.

Trustee Regina Newman was appointed to her office following the death last year of Paul Mattila. Newman easily overcame M LaTroy Williams in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. She will face David Lenoir, who beat former Shelby County Commissioner John Willingham in the Republican contest.

The final unofficial vote totals are:

Lenoir 15,922 58%

Willingham 11,569 42%

The other six candidate field on the ballot was in the Democratic primary for Probate Court Clerk. Sondra Becton posted impressive vote totals over her rivals, bringing in 35 percent of the vote with Peggy Dobbins her closest rival. Becton, who is making her fourth bid for the office, will face Republican Paul Boyd, who ran unopposed in his primary.

The final unofficial vote totals are:

Becton 10,929 36%

Dobbins 5,366 18%

Annita Hamilton 4,848 16%

Clay Perry 3,549 12%

Danny Kail 3,120 11%

Karen Tyler 2,782 9%

The closest contest of the evening was in the Democratic primary for County Clerk. Wrestling promoter and television personality Corey Maclin won his political debut by less than 1,400 votes over Charlotte Draper and LaKeith Miller. He will face Republican Wayne Mashburn who beat Steve Moore in the companion primary.

Early voting in advance of the Aug. 5 election day begins July 16. The August ballot will also feature state and federal primary elections including the statewide primaries for governor and the primaries for all nine of the state’s Congressional districts.

...

44. Primary Campaigns Come to Close -

The 2010 Shelby County primary campaigns ended in a soggy, flooded and windswept mess.

As home and business owners patched roofs and pushed floodwaters out, the campaigns assessed the damage the weekend storms might do to what was already expected to be a low voter turnout.

45. Early Voting Draws to Close -

Early voting ends Thursday evening at 21 locations across Shelby County.

Candidates in the Shelby County primaries begin their drive to the May 4 Election Day when the early voting polls close Thursday at 7 p.m.

46. Commission Races Hinge on Public Issues -

Two issues figure in to the 11 competitive races for the Shelby County Commission – the future of the Regional Medical Center and local government consolidation.

Any push card for a credible candidate includes either something about how to save The MED or the candidate’s opposition to consolidation – or both.

47. Candidates Battle it Out in Democratic Primary -

Before voters get to the slimmer, trimmer Aug. 5 race for Shelby County mayor, some of them must decide the three-candidate Democratic primary on the May 4 ballot.

As political races go, this one has enough drama to make it interesting.

48. Democratic Mayoral Contenders Make Pitches -

Two of the three Democratic contenders for Shelby County mayor still don’t agree on whether The Regional Medical Center at Memphis has been saved.

Joe Ford and Deidre Malone also disagree on whether local schools are already funded by a single source.

49. Mayoral Candidates Liven Race Up at First Debate -

At one point during Monday’s first debate among the contenders for Shelby County mayor, Joe Ford said only two people he spoke to didn’t want him to run for the post he now holds on an interim basis.

50. First Mayoral Debate Finds Differing Views of MED -

Interim Shelby County Mayor Joe Ford declared the Regional Medical Center has been “saved.”

Ford made the declaration at a Monday night forum held at the Central Library by the League of Women Voters.

51. UPDATE: First Mayoral Debate Draws Crowd and Friction -

Interim Shelby County Mayor Joe Ford declared the Regional Medical Center has been “saved.”

Ford made the declaration at a Monday night forum held at the Central Library by the League of Women Voters.

52. Jackson Brings ‘Balanced Leadership’ to Mayor’s Race -

The surprise candidate in the race for Shelby County mayor said Monday he had been considering a bid for the job for the past 10 years.

General Sessions Court Clerk Otis Jackson checked out his qualifying petition for the May 4 Democratic primary Thursday morning and filed before the noon deadline.

53. County Primary Fields Clear Up -

The newest candidate for Shelby County mayor is scheduled to talk about his decision later today.

General Sessions Court Clerk Otis Jackson was a last-minute filer in the Democratic primary for mayor at noon Thursday. Jackson’s decision was the biggest surprise at the deadline.

54. Candidate Filing List -- The Final Version -

Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell appeared on his way to the Republican nomination for Shelby County mayor at Thursday’s noon filing deadline for candidates on the May 4 primary ballot.

55. UPDATE: Mayor's Race Grows At Filing Deadline -

Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell appeared on his way to the Republican nomination for Shelby County mayor at Thursday’s noon filing deadline for candidates on the May 4 primary ballot.

Luttrell faces only token opposition from perennial candidate Ernie Lunati.

Meanwhile, the Democratic primary for mayor grew to three contenders as General Sessions Court Clerk Otis Jackson filed his qualifying petition just before the deadline. He joins interim County Mayor Joe Ford and Shelby County Commissioner Deidre Malone.

Luttrell ruled out a bid for Shelby County mayor last year (2009). But when Harold Byrd decided not to run in the Democratic primary, some local GOP leaders asked Luttrell to reconsider.

The result touched off a scramble of candidates from both parties for the open sheriff’s office. But before the noon deadline, the initial field of over a dozen possible contenders was narrowed to ten – six Democrats and four Republicans.

The other surprise at the filing deadline was the return of attorney Walter Bailey to the District 2 Position 1 seat he gave up in the 2006 elections. Bailey sought re-election then to another term despite a two term limit on commissioners. Bailey lost to J.W. Gibson who decided not to seek re-election. He also lost a court fight to overturn the term limits.

Bailey was the only candidate who had filed for the seat at the Thursday deadline.

Only one incumbent county commissioner – Republican Mike Ritz -- was effectively re-elected at the deadline because he had no opposition.

All but one of the eleven contested County Commission races will be decided with the May 4 primaries. The only general election battle for the August ballot is the district 5 contest between GOP challenger Dr. Rolando Toyos and whoever wins the May Democratic primary between incumbent Steve Mulroy and Jennings Bernard.

Former County Commissioner John Willingham also returned to the ballot among a field of Republican contenders in the primary for Shelby County Trustee.

And former Criminal Court Clerk Minerva Johnican joined the Democratic primary field for her old job. Incumbent Republican Bill Key pulled petition to seek re-election but did not file at the deadline.

Here is the list of races and contenders from The Shelby County Election Commission. All candidate have until noon Feb. 25 to withdraw from the ballot if they wish.

D-Democrat

R- Republican

I- Independent

Shelby County Mayor:

Deidre Malone (D)

Joe Ford (D)

Otis Jackson (D)

Mark Luttrell (R)

Ernest Lunati (R)

Leo Awgowhat (I)

Shelby County Sheriff:

James Coleman (R)

Bobby Simmons (R)

Bill Oldham (R)

Dale Lane (R)

Larry Hill (D)

Bennie Cobb (D)

Randy Wade (D)

James Bolden (D)

Elton Hymon (D)

Reginald French (D)

County Commission Dist 1 Pos 1

Mike Ritz (R) (incumbent)

County Commission Dist 1 Pos 2

Albert Maduska (R)

Heidi Shafer (R)

County Commission Dist 1 Pos 3

Mike Carpenter (R) (incumbent)

Joe Baire (R)

County Commission Dist 2 Pos 1

Walter Bailey (D)

County Commission Dist 2 Pos 2

Henri Brooks (D) (incumbent)

David Vinciarelli (D)

County Commission Dist 2 Pos 3

Eric Dunn (D)

Norma Lester (D)

Tina Dickerson (D)

Melvin Burgess (D)

Reginald Milton (D)

Freddie Thomas (D)

County Commission Dist 3 Pos 1

James Harvey (D) (incumbent)

James Catchings (D)

County Commission Dist. 3 Pos 2

Sidney Chism (D) (incumbent)

Andrew "Rome" Withers (D)

County Commission Dist. 3 Pos 3

Edith Moore  (D) (incumbent)

Justin Ford (D)

County Commission Dist 4 Pos 1

Chris Thomas (R)

John Pellicciotti (R)

Jim Bomprezzi (R)

County Commission Dist 4 Pos 2

Wyatt Bunker (R) (incumbent)

John Wilkerson (R)

Ron Fittes (R)

County Commission Dist 4 Pos 3

Terry Roland (R)

George Chism (R)

Edgar Babian (R)

County Commission Dist 5

Steve Mulroy (D) (incumbent)

Jennings Bernard (D)

Rolando Toyos (R)

Shelby County Clerk

Charlotte Draper (D)

Corey Maclin (D)

LaKeith Miller (D)

Wayne Mashburn (R)

Steve Moore (R)

Criminal Court Clerk

Vernon Johnson (D)

Minerva Johnican (D)

Ralph White (D)

Michael Porter (R)

Kevin Key (R)

Jerry Stamson (I)

Circuit Court Clerk

Jimmy Moore (R) (incumbent)

Steven Webster (D)

Carmichael Johnson (D)

Ricky W. Dixon (D)

Juvenile Court Clerk

Joy Touliatos (R)

Charles Marshall (D)

Sylvester Bradley (D)

Shep Wilbun (D)

Julia Roberson Wiseman (I)

Probate Court Clerk

Paul Boyd (R)

Sondra Becton (D)

Danny Kail (D)

Annita Sawyer Hamilton (D)

Peggy Dobbins (D)

Clay Perry (D)

Karen Tyler (D)

Shelby County Register

Tom Leatherwood (R) (incumbent)

Coleman Thompson (D)

Lady J. Swift (D)

Carlton Orange (D)

Shelby County Trustee

Regina Newman (D) (incumbent)

M. LaTroy Williams (D)

John Willingham (R)

Jeff Jacobs (R)

David Lenoir (R)

...

56. 2010 -

Is it over yet? That may be the most frequently asked question in the New Year. “It” is the worst national economic recession since the Great Depression.

Accurately reading the indicators will not be easy. Some will predict the recession is about to end, just as new indicators point to continuing economic agony for thousands of Memphians.

57. Byrd Enters 2010 Race For County Mayor -

Seven years after he first ran for Shelby County mayor but reluctantly called off his bid, longtime Bartlett banker Harold Byrd is back.

58. Byrd Enters 2010 Race for County Mayor -

Seven years after he first ran for Shelby County mayor but reluctantly called off his bid, longtime Bartlett banker Harold Byrd is back.

“I’m Harold Byrd, and I want to be your Shelby County mayor,” is how he put it in a video on the campaign Web site, www.haroldbyrdformayor.com, he unveiled Tuesday.

The founder, vice chairman and president of Bank of Bartlett, Byrd made his intentions known about next year’s county mayor race the day before Shelby County Commission member Deidre Malone kicks off her bid for county mayor at the University of Memphis.

Malone’s campaign launches tomorrow night at the Holiday Inn-University of Memphis.

A group of more than 60 Byrd supporters, calling themselves the Harold Byrd for Mayor Support Group, sent out this e-mail Tuesday: “Please join with us in our support of Harold Byrd as our next Shelby County Mayor! Harold has demonstrated talented, tireless, and effective leadership in government, business, and the community! We need a leader that can make a difference. Please show your support by visiting www.haroldbyrdformayor.com and joining the winning team!”

The group includes a broad cross section of Shelby Countians, everyone from former U of M basketball players Penny Hardaway and Elliot Perry to former county Mayor Bill Morris. Also included in the group are civil rights activists Maxine and Vasco Smith, developer Jackie Welch and his daughter, Dawn, Shelby County General Sessions Court Clerk Otis Jackson, developer Terry Dan and the former general manager of the Memphis Redbirds Allie Prescott.

Byrd told The Daily News Tuesday’s development does not represent a formal campaign announcement. It’s an acknowledgement supporters are urging him to run, so he wants to see what kind of response the news generates.

Current Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton Jr., whose term ends next year, is running in next month’s special election to succeed former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton.

...

59. Mattila’s Visitation, Memorial Service Today -

About five months ago, Shelby County Trustee Paul Mattila stood in his backyard in Millington and told several dozen people he would be running in the 2010 county elections.

In the barn just a few yards away were signs for the coming campaign and from past ones Mattila had worked over the years.

60. Chairmanship Battle a Preview Of Coming Political Landscape -

The political fortunes of the Shelby County Democratic Party haven’t been this high in awhile.

Democrats have high hopes for the 2010 county elections. In the 2006 elections, four Democratic challengers of Republican incumbents in countywide offices came within 1,000 votes of wins. Democrats picked up a countywide office in the 2008 elections when Otis Jackson, one of the four Democrats who got close but not close enough two years earlier, upset Republican incumbent Chris Turner in the General Sessions Court clerk’s race.

61. Luttrell Upset Over Possible Sheriff Cuts -

Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell rarely gets rattled.

That’s what made his opposition to a plan this week to lay off 100 county government employees, including 31 people in his department, so unusual.

62. Deadline: What it's Really Like Inside the City's Big Daily - EDITOR’S NOTE: Bill Dries was a reporter at The Commercial Appeal from June 1997-October 2005. This story is based in part on his experiences there and more recent conversations with other CA staffers.

The fall evening six years ago when Chris Peck became the editor of The Commercial Appeal was treated with utmost secrecy inside the newspaper at 495 Union Ave.

Then-publisher John Wilcox was determined to prevent leaks of that night’s decision to any other media outlets. So not only would the choice be a secret to those outside the building, but inside as well.

Then-Metro editor Charles Bernsen camped out in his small office at one end of the newsroom with the blinds drawn across its large window. He emerged just before the regular 11 p.m. deadline to tell editors on the copy desk he was sending the story, written from home by a trusted reporter.

The article by Tom Charlier in the Oct. 9, 2002, edition described Peck as “a veteran journalist who built a national reputation for innovative leadership and unblinking coverage of difficult topics” as the editor of The Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, Wash.

Otis Sanford, the CA’s deputy managing editor and the other finalist for the top job, was promoted to managing editor. It was the first of many changes in the past six years to the newspaper’s masthead, where its top leaders are listed.

New era dawns

Peck arrived in Memphis shortly after the article and, although he would officially take over in January after Angus McEachran’s retirement, there was a great deal of anticipation – and, uncharacteristically for a floor full of reporters – not much background checking on Peck.

Before selecting Peck, executives of the CA’s parent company, the E.W. Scripps Co., had set up a committee of CA employees and solicited their opinions on what they wanted to see in the next editor. Many said they wanted a new direction at the newspaper.

Peck came to Memphis from a short stint as the Belo Distinguished Chair in Journalism at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He had served as editor at the Spokane Spokesman-Review just prior to the academic post.

Peck left that paper on the heels of a journalism controversy that got little play outside the Northwest and continued to linger as recently as two years ago. It concerned financing for a large public project involving the newspaper’s owners.

Meanwhile, hopes were high among some CA staff members that Peck would change the dysfunctional management style at the paper. Others believed no creative undertaking the size of a newspaper is possible without some level of dysfunction. And still others were leery about any optimistic assessment for any reason.

Bernsen was among the first to leave the CA after Peck’s hire. Louis Graham, who had been expected to head the Metro desk even if Sanford became the new top editor, replaced Bernsen.

Six years later, departing and current staffers describe the CA’s management style and newsroom atmosphere as “toxic.” They also complain that little has changed in terms of who runs the newspaper on a daily basis despite a frequent shuffling of the management chart.

None would talk with The Memphis News on the record for fear of reprisals. Even past staffers didn’t want their names used because of the prospect of doing freelance work for the newspaper. Those still in the newsroom and on the payroll wouldn’t talk on company phones.

Profits and losses

What ails The Commercial Appeal has a lot to do with what ails the newspaper industry in general these days. But that’s a black-and-white version that misses large colorful splotches unique to the institution.

Decisions made during the past six years to pursue a growth strategy targeting “suburban” readers, as well as longstanding practices for managing talent, have also helped bring the newspaper to where it is today.

Managers at the newspaper, in separate interviews with The Memphis News, insist it is stable, profitable and will remain a seven-day-a-week operation despite recent moves that severely cut the reporting staff, eliminated classified ads from the already thin Monday and Tuesday print editions and an admission that the newspaper probably won’t be covering less urgent topics in the future.

Asked if the demise of classified ad sections in the Monday and Tuesday editions could be a sign that the Monday and Tuesday print editions might vanish entirely, publisher Joe Pepe was unequivocal.

“No. That’s not going to happen, at least under my tenure here,” Pepe said. “A lot of the transactional classified business is done online anyway. Everything that you see in the paper every day of the week is also online. So putting the Monday and Tuesday (classifieds) online was essentially just a way for us to save on some newsprint costs while not taking away from the advertising.”

The CA is profitable, Peck and Pepe insist, although they won’t release any numbers.

“We’ve projected a profit for 2009,” Peck said. “We were profitable in 2008. So, I fully expect we’ll be profitable in 2009.”

Pepe responded, “Absolutely,” when asked if the CA is profitable. When asked if he would be more specific, he replied, “No. Good try.”

Doing less with fewer

The newspaper is not alone in its reluctance to give out specific financial data. Most businesses consider such information to be proprietary.

The optimistic assessment is in contrast to a letter subscribers got this month from Karl D. Wurzbach, vice president of circulation, saying subscription rates would go up by $2 a month effective Nov. 1.

“This is the only way we can continue to deliver to your home every day,” he wrote. “This increase is across the board, for everybody, with no exclusions.”

Wurzbach’s letter also noted that the CA had dropped home delivery to 11,600 subscribers in outlying areas during a five-month period. The weekday newsstand price had already increased from 50 cents to 75 cents.

“It was costing us more money to print and deliver than we earned in revenue,” he said in the letter. “No company can survive using that business model. … Simply put, we are making very difficult decisions to help our business survive.”

Both moves in the appearance and delivery of the paper came in the week after 20 reporters and editors faced the ultimate “difficult decision.”

The newspaper made the decision of whom to fire using a controversial system that ranks reporters in the particular section of the paper they work for. The key to the ranking is not reporting ability or even a byline count; it’s how a reporter gets along with his or her editor. It had already been a key to longevity at the CA before Peck arrived in Memphis and made it a formal part of employee evaluations.

“You have to grieve those who are no longer with us in a genuine way because they were great contributions,” Peck said. “But you really at that point also have to rather quickly turn your attention to the task at hand. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

But the veteran employees “grieved” by management are the same employees management had ranked as the least valuable in their respective departments.

That included Jimmie Covington, the longest-serving reporter at the paper until his dismissal in March after years of being shuffled from one suburban bureau to another. Covington was a veteran of the county government and Memphis City Schools beats.

The layoffs also included Frederic Koeppel and Christopher Blank, who provided much of the newspaper’s arts coverage and who apparently won’t be replaced with full-time reporters.

There’s now no mention of the “master narratives” Peck once included in his “blueprint” for the CA. They included long-form stories on race, the city’s musical heritage, barbecue and the river. It was to be a departure from the newspaper being what Peck referred to as a “news utility,” or all-purpose paper of record.

“What we have to do is prioritize our staff resources,” Peck said just weeks after 20 people in the CA newsroom either resigned or were fired in the latest series of cutbacks – the deepest to date for the editorial staff. “I think where that’s going to lead is making sure that we have the nuts and bolts of hard news coverage. That’s probably police reporting, court reporting, government reporting, school reporting. We want to make sure we’ve got those bases covered.”

Whatever is left of a full-time reporting staff will be devoted to issues and institutions such as FedEx, the University of Memphis Tigers basketball team, the Memphis Grizzlies, the economy and the medical center.

“If we run out of people at that point, then we’re going to turn to freelancers and more community-generated content,” Peck said. “I think we’ll be able to fill a lot of holes there if we need to and I think it will work out fine.”

Wanted: free (or reduced) labor

Pepe offered a basic definition of citizen journalism.

“All blogging is citizen journalism,” he told The Memphis News. “In a lot of cases it’s unsubstantiated. It’s not objective. It’s not edited content. It leans more toward opinion and subjectivity. Anytime we have citizen journalism, it’s still going to get edited. It’s still going to get verified. It’s going to get checked for facts before we post it. We apply the same rules to citizen-sponsored journalism as we do to our top line reporter.”

Sanford said citizen journalism “has its place” and has been discussed since the early 1990s. It shows up in the pages he governs in the form of opinion pieces and letters to the editor. Non-newspaper employees also serve on the CA’s editorial board.

“Now, I am a traditional, old-fashioned journalist,” Sanford said. “And I believe that while citizen journalism has its place, I’m not one – and maybe this is an old-fashioned view – but I’m not one to think that citizen journalism can ever take the place of the traditional journalism that I know and love. I just don’t believe that.”

The names of reporters and photographers cut in the most recent round of layoffs are already turning up in CA coverage as freelancers. Instead of a straight name with “The Commercial Appeal” below it, their names now appear with the phrase “special to The Commercial Appeal” and, of course, they receive no health benefits or regular paychecks from the newspaper.

Worldwide wakeup call

Before Peck’s arrival in Memphis, the CA was more than out of touch with the need for an Internet presence. The newspaper was hostile to such a move.

Posting a story on the Web site that was anything more than a teaser paragraph before the actual newspapers rolled of the presses and into delivery trucks was seen as handing the story to the competition.

It was a philosophy that had served the newspaper well in competing with television news, even with the rise of 24-hour cable news channels.

However, there have been consequences for being late to the Internet party, and financial consequences for not taking the Internet seriously.

“Right now all the revenue is generated off advertising,” Pepe said of print journalism’s gradual realization that it needed to be in the Web business as well. “Until search engines are firewalled – until all local media either together or individually start charging for content online – it’s going to continue to be a source of non-revenue in terms of content. That then means that revenue for all Internet ventures will be based on advertising.”

After Peck arrived, the move to unique content for the Web site was still slow in coming.

Editors exerted the same multi-tiered control over copy that might mean a story was not edited for Web or print until later in the day, closer to the print deadline.

Scraps often erupted over how copy was edited after it left the editors and went to the “new media” department. It might be a change in a few words or a new, snappier lead (first sentence), but some editors clearly didn’t like having their work changed as much as they might have imagined reporters liked having their work rearranged.

Reporters are expected to take such changes without protest, and protests are rare even when edits distort meaning. Reporters can always fall back on the excuse that the story got messed up after it was out of their hands.

But that brings into play another rule for newsroom survival – always, always make a hard copy of the story you turn in to your editor.

The anonymity of snark

The comments section on www.commercialappeal.com, where readers may post their thoughts at the bottom of stories, has been wildly successful if you look just at the number of comments some stories generate in a short amount of time.

But success isn’t the word that comes to mind if you start to read the comments on a regular basis.

They routinely crackle with racial tension and even racial slurs. When some staffers complained about the slurs and called for better policing of such comments, Peck reportedly asked for a list of what slurs should be considered cause for removing comments.

Sanford had a different take in March as he spoke at a University of Memphis panel discussion about race and the media.

“Please stop reading those comments,” Sanford told a crowd of 100 people on campus. “You’ve got … anonymous people who go on our stories … and make unbelievably goofy and stupid comments. And then that becomes, unfortunately, the reality. And we have to stop that. We can’t stop the comments because the Web people have told us, ‘Well, that’s how you get people in there.’ But please don’t listen to that.”

To civic groups and even individual citizens who contact the paper with complaints and concerns, Sanford is its face, voice and ears. When the CA participates in media forums, chances are the speaker will be Sanford.

For the past two years, Sanford has been in charge of the paper’s editorial board and Viewpoint section. It’s a position that evolved after editorial page editor David Kushma’s departure, when Kushma’s duties came to be included in Sanford’s.

“That just didn’t work right,” Sanford told The Memphis News. “We had a lot of discussions about this. Corporate was even involved in it. We agreed that the editorial pages, Viewpoint, the editorial board – we would sort of restructure the newsroom operation and the editorial board and the editorial opinions of the paper so that would fall directly under the publisher and I would be running that. I think that was a good thing to do.”

That means that Sanford works for Pepe, not Peck, as he did when he was managing editor.

Gum-popping good times

Peck met with each reporter in his office shortly after he arrived in Memphis. He appeared to be taking notes on a legal pad as he listened to their comments and suggestions.

However, trying to find Peck’s strategy over the years has been no simple matter. There wasn’t much beyond slogans that included “rebuilding the jet while flying it” or “building a 21st century newspaper.” The latter phrase was still being used six years into the new century.

One reporter who tried to get into Peck’s head in terms of management philosophy hit a brick wall with a thud, although he is still employed at the CA.

On that occasion, Peck was in no mood to discuss philosophy despite a casual-sounding e-mail asking if the reporter had a few minutes to talk. Instead of a dialogue, Peck gave the reporter $50 in cash and a list of books he could buy to read. He also sent the reporter back to the night cops beat for objecting to how a story was edited.

The editorial page and op-ed page were the first parts of the paper that changed. Peck wanted more letters to the editor. He also wanted to stop the practice of rigorously fact-checking letters.

This drew dissent from Kushma, who was eventually overruled and left in the first round of buyouts in 2003 that followed Peck’s arrival. Some of the other changes were in the Metro section – the hard news engine of the paper.

Reporters were switched around, which is a normal part of life at the city’s daily newspaper unless you are declared immune from such changes. The six or seven Metro editors were immune for the most part from the changes.

The newspaper’s home office in Cincinnati had long maintained that the paper was top heavy with such editors. Peck talked a lot about change, but didn’t change that.

At one of Peck’s first meetings with the Metro staff, a reporter asked Peck when there would be changes for the editors as well. Peck’s answer was to talk about Dentyne gum and how the company that makes it had allegedly improved its sales figures by repackaging the gum.

The analogy was that the CA was going to undergo a similar repackaging: What was under the wrapper would remain the same.

For weeks after the meeting, fellow reporters left numerous packages of Dentyne on the questioner’s desk.

Before Peck answered the question, some staffers remained hopeful because they saw most of the problems with the new management as a result of Peck having to answer to John Wilcox, the CA’s publisher. It was a key difference in the management structure.

Before Wilcox’s arrival, McEachran had served as editor and president – a title that gave McEachran near absolute power over everything the newspaper did, editorially and otherwise.

The Dentyne story showed that if there was a struggle between Wilcox and Peck, it wasn’t much of a difference of opinion. They essentially agreed on a newsroom strategy that continued to unfold.

Neighborly gestures

Of those at the top of the masthead, only Sanford has seen all of the changes unfold from one regime to the other.

“In terms of news, certainly the newspaper has changed dramatically under Chris,” Sanford told The Memphis News. “There have been significant changes in focus and really in newsroom culture.”

Asked to characterize whether the change has been good, bad or indifferent, Sanford said, “I’m not going to say. I’m going to let others decide that. The readers can determine that.”

Peck’s take on newsroom culture at the CA is almost as neutral.

“The culture is not one where people are necessarily beaming with big smiles every day because it’s a difficult time in the industry,” he told The Memphis News. “I think that I have tried to be very realistic with people with what’s going on in the business – and very realistic about our expectations of what we need from our staff, from my office all the way down to the last person who leaves at night.”

The Neighbors sections were abolished with Peck’s settling in – sections included every Thursday for each zone of the city that also contained honors rolls of all schools in and out of the zone, and other such listings. It had the kind of items that readers might like to cut out and post on their refrigerators. No matter where you lived in Memphis, you got a Neighbors section.

Peck wasted no time in making the refrigerator postings a rallying cry for what was to replace Neighbors. They would be hyper-local sections that would contain only news about that part of the county. Some would be written by a staffer, but most often written by citizens in that area. Often, the citizens were members of a group or organization that was the focus of the piece.

Soon the philosophy began to apply to the news that appeared in other parts of the particular delivery zone.

Not every section of the city got a suburban edition. Vast sections of North and South Memphis as well as Frayser and Raleigh were out of the loop.

Peck first pleaded ignorance to and has since repeatedly denied a central tenet of life in Memphis. Memphians often have family that might live in another part of town. Thus someone Downtown might want to see the honor roll of Tara Oaks Elementary School in Collierville or someone in Bartlett might be interested in what is happening in Arlington.

This often led to readers wondering what they missed in other parts of the city, and being suspicious of only receiving certain news.

New suburban bureaus were opened as full-time postings in Mississippi and Arkansas and state Capitol coverage from Jackson and Little Rock, respectively, was abandoned. Meanwhile, the newspaper’s greatest success in a suburban edition was being changed to make it fit the cookie-cutter mold of the new suburban bureaus.

Escape hatch

The newspaper’s DeSoto County edition opened late in McEachran’s tenure. It was one of the few times McEachran talked about marketing studies as he explained a concept to the newsroom. But it was because the data were clear.

DeSoto County readers wanted a newspaper that covered North Mississippi and did not mention Memphis, at least on the front page. The DeSoto County bureau had a separate sales and management staff. And the CA edition delivered in DeSoto County had its own front page that was DeSoto County-centric. It was even called The DeSoto Appeal. And it was a hit out of the box, with plans to duplicate the model in Tipton County while maintaining a different model within Shelby County because of the differences in attitudes clearly shown in the marketing study.

Peck wasn’t interested in the distinction.

When Pepe arrived as publisher in late 2005, the CA got someone with experience in such suburban editions. Pepe came to Memphis from St. Louis, where he headed the Suburban Journals – a collection of 38 weekly community newspapers.

Pepe said the CA’s suburban business strategy as modified several times over has worked. That strategy is to get advertising from small businesses in the community receiving the directed section – businesses whose reach and revenue can’t sustain a pitch to the paper’s larger audience.

“In St. Louis, they’ve been in place for 50 years,” Pepe said. “So they were humming. Here, we’ve had them in place for three or four years. I would suggest that if we’d not done this, that we would have even greater financial problems, only because the dependency on the larger advertisers would have been even greater than it is.”

“Zoning,” as it’s called, is now a three-day-a-week proposition.

“We still do zoning Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. We have a suburban, urban and a DeSoto zone. I think that’s where we need to be,” Peck said. “What we’re trying to do is balance the best of both worlds. Make sure our readers have the best of what’s going on in greater Memphis, but that we also provide a degree of zone content that is either geared toward the metro area, the suburbs or DeSoto County.”

But the practice has been much different than the theory behind the advertising and the needs of news consumers. As valued as the suburban coverage has been throughout Peck’s tenure, the bureaus have been places where reporters with troublesome attitudes toward editors have been exiled.

It was the next destination for many of those summoned for personal meetings with Peck as the first round of buyouts began in late 2003. In some cases, reporters have welcomed the assignment to be able to get out of the Downtown newsroom.

In the doghouse

The first round of buyouts under Peck in 2003 was brutal – even more ham-handed and graceless than anyone imagined possible. And the CA is not an organization noted for having an optimistic outlook.

All employees who were older than 40 and had been at the company 20 years or more got packets outlining the terms of the buyout. But within that group, Peck singled out about a dozen copy editors, reporters and photographers, including some of the most senior reporters and photographers in the organization. He had already begun discussions with several in the group who had been ill or had surgery.

Each got an e-mail from Peck asking if they had a few minutes to talk in his office. Peck would later quarrel with an assertion that he had threatened those in the group in the one-on-one talks. But he did tell each of them that if they didn’t take the buyout, they would be assigned more onerous duties.

One was told that if he didn’t take the buyout, he would be working nights and weekends. When the employee said he already worked nights and weekends, the meeting ended abruptly. A features reporter and another reporter each were told they would be working the night cops beat if they didn’t accept the buyouts.

The night shift started at 4:30 p.m. and ran until 1 a.m. or so. It involved listening to a police scanner and checking for such news that had to be written on deadline. The night cops reporter is the only news reporter on duty at the paper after 5p.m. unless there’s a late City Council meeting or someone on dayside decides they are on a roll and continues working.

Most papers have the night cops beat, and it is usually where beginning reporters start. It’s a good way to learn the basics of print reporting and determine whether a reporter can hold up under deadline pressure. At the CA, it is a beat assigned to reporters who are out of favor – firmly, decisively and usually terminally out of favor.

Under Peck, even summer interns don’t have to work night cops.

The Newspaper Guild, the union that represents reporters, photographers and copy editors, took the unusual move of passing a resolution that complained about Peck’s singling out employees. The same day the union passed the resolution, Peck called into his office the reporter who had made the proposal. I was that employee.

“I would really like for this not to find its way to Cincinnati,” was his reaction after he quarreled over whether his other talks with employees had amounted to threats.

The guild membership had voted unanimously for the resolution to be sent to Scripps management in Cincinnati. Peck later talked union leaders out of sending it, despite the membership vote.

Some of the squeezed employees took the buyout. Others stayed and were shuffled out to the suburban bureaus the following August, and were among those laid off this past March.

‘Treacherous ground’

The guild’s idea of a protest was to have reporters in the newsroom wear green on certain days of the week. This signaled that contract negotiations weren’t going well or weren’t going at all.

It’s been six years since the last labor contract expired that included guaranteed annual raises. Then the guild went to the idea of wearing green buttons – no words on the buttons, just green buttons that Scripps brass in town would see during their visits to Memphis. The brass never got near the newsroom. Still later, the guild kept the idea of the green color scheme but added the wording “We All Merit A Raise” to protest the company’s proposal of merit pay raises instead of a percentage raise guaranteed in the contract.

At one point, the guild was optimistic that the company was getting the message. So the guild urged members not to file grievances against management to keep the goodwill going.

In October 2007, the most visible sign of dissent in years came outside the framework of the guild and stalled contract talks. As the CA prepared to publish a series of articles on the impact of Memphis businesses around the world, a lead piece about FedEx to be sponsored by FedEx was ordered rewritten and the reporter, Trevor Aaronson, refused. The newspaper had approached FedEx about sponsoring that particular piece. Dozens of staff members, in a rare public move, signed a petition objecting to the practice Peck referred to as “monetizing content.” They felt it crossed the line separating the editorial part of the newspaper from sales. National trade magazines and blogs, which normally overlook the CA, took note of the flap.

Peck retreated, telling Editor & Publisher, a print trade magazine, “I went to our publisher and said, ‘We have probably gone half a step more than we should have gone on this project.’ It is treacherous ground when you start talking about having an advertiser in a section that has them in the reporting.”

Aaronson later left the CA, but has been quoted as saying he enjoyed the freedom he was given to pursue his own interests.

“I don’t care to talk about my experiences there,” Aaronson wrote in an e-mail.

The favored few

The stage for the latest round of layoffs that came in April was set with the release of fourth-quarter figures for Scripps.

Profits were way down. The chain ended the year with its share prices down 51 percent or $22. The chain announced it would freeze the pension plan, cutting 401(k) matching funds from the company. At the CA, the 401(k) match has always only applied to managers.

Mark Watson, head of the triumvirate of labor unions at the CA, including The Newspaper Guild, broke the news about the layoffs, calling it a “crisi-tunity.” He was among those laid off weeks later.

The weekend after the announcement, Peck in his Sunday column once again lectured about the hard economic times.

From the start, Peck’s quest was to garner favorable attention within the city and in journalism circles across the country by winning awards. At first, he touted every award the paper won, which, for writing and reporting, were usually the monthly Scripps awards from the home office in Cincinnati.

But he later reversed that and said the paper should note only awards of national stature. Photographers regularly won those, but reporters didn’t.

When some reporters complained their work was always excluded from consideration, Peck directed that reporters submit on a monthly basis any work they wanted to be considered for award entries.

Those suggestions were then forwarded to the very editors who had been excluding their work in the first place and who remained in control of contest entries.

Like other newspapers, the CA’s approach to awards is sometimes to deem a story to be eligible for an award, possibly before the first interview is done or the first word is written.

But a contest entry had to have the right byline as well – the right reporter doing a story for a contest was usually not the one covering the beat from which the story arose.

Pamela Perkins, who left the paper voluntary in the November 2008 round of layoffs, along with music writer Bill Ellis, who left in 2005, won a national award in 2004 from the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri for their continuing coverage of the return of Stax Records and the surrounding Soulsville neighborhood in South Memphis. Their writing won first place in the arts and entertainment category of the Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Awards.

There was no companywide e-mail congratulating them as there had been for awards in the monthly Scripps competition.

Stephen Price’s work as one of several reporters working on the deadly shooting of a child on Rosamond Avenue in 2002 caught the attention of Florida’s Poynter Institute, a leading journalism think tank. Other reporters deemed more worthy were praised the next day in the inevitable self-congratulatory e-mail in which management separated those it favored from those it didn’t.

Price had blended into the neighborhood crowd as police cleared reporters from the area, came back with the story no one else had and wrote it on deadline.

The Poynter Institute carries a lot of weight in Peck’s newspaper philosophy. Several times, he’s used Poynter fellows to mediate discussions with community leaders about the newspaper’s policies. But when Price’s account of the shooting aftermath in the Rosamond neighborhood was reprinted in Poynter’s annual anthology of the nation’s best journalism of the past year, CA management once again did not acknowledge the accolade.

Curious ideas

As the 2004 presidential season began, Peck revealed an important part of his views on political coverage to an editors’ forum in Washington. It was the same night as the Iowa caucuses.

The remarks to the American Press Institute gathering didn’t get much publicity, even after they showed up on an industry blog. It took a few more months. He never said anything about it to anyone who worked at the CA.

Peck said having reporters cover campaign events was a waste of time and resources. Instead, he said citizen journalists should cover the events – those who were already going to attend the rallies anyway.

“We have to get over the notion that we have to do it all ourselves,” he told Chad Capellman of API as he talked of having editors find volunteers to write summaries of what was said. “It’s not doing the democracy any good to send out a reporter to write down a regurgitation of what a candidate is saying in a staged event.”

Peck also said newspapers should compete with comedy shows such as “The Daily Show” and “Saturday Night Live” as a source of political information. Also, Peck called for focus groups of readers to determine what issues should be discussed.

“Don’t let the candidates drive coverage of the three issues they want to ride to get elected,” he told the API group.

Being the newspaper’s political reporter had been a difficult posting for some time, even before Peck arrived in Memphis. Bernsen had a checkered history of political coverage that turned into a deep distrust and contempt for politics when he became the head of Metro.

Each election season he would dutifully call those assigned to political coverage to his office and haul out a set of his own news clippings, which he said illustrated the kind of reporting he wanted. Under no circumstances, he insisted, would the candidates be setting the agenda for the newspaper’s coverage.

Such tension is normal in the planning of most media coverage of politics. It’s a game candidates, their representatives and the reporters who cover them play constantly.

Bernsen’s decision was not to play the game at all. He did not want coverage of campaign events and rallies. And the end of an election meant the end of political coverage. Any attempt a candidate made to establish or give voice to an issue was uniformly rejected even if it obviously hit a nerve with voters. To him, the whole process was rigged and the newspaper’s view was the only valid one.

There was supposed to be a wall between the reporting that was allowed on the political process and the endorsements of candidates that the CA editorial board made. Most candidates interested in the newspaper’s endorsement never believed there was a wall. If there was, they reasoned, editors not on the board would still find a way to limit or tilt coverage of those who weren’t endorsed.

Prism of perception

The CA began 2009 with a curious 15-part series that recapped the public life of Mayor Willie Herenton.

Herenton has had problems with the newspaper throughout that public life. And similarly, the newspaper’s leadership has had problems seeing straight when the subject was Willie Herenton.

The paper’s until then consistent political coverage was missing in action when Herenton launched a surprisingly strong-willed bid for mayor in 1991. Editorially, the newspaper had strong reservations about the People’s Convention that Herenton took by storm, clearing the first political obstacle in what became a historic campaign.

His willingness to participate in the convention, whose goal was to come up with a consensus black challenger to incumbent Dick Hackett, put off those in the newspaper’s front office. It translated to next to no coverage of a campaign effort that was on the streets every day, while Hackett pursued the local equivalent of a rose garden strategy of speaking to small groups at select backyard parties.

When Herenton won, the ambivalence turned into hostility.

Herenton had a good relationship with several reporters who had covered his tenure as city schools superintendent – even through the sexual harassment lawsuit that came near the end of his tenure there and just before his entry into the 1991 mayor’s race. (The harassment case stemmed from a relationship Herenton had with a teacher.)

Those reporters had to walk a fine line. A favorable comment by Herenton in public that got back to editors could mean that reporter would be perceived as biased toward Herenton. The problem many reporters had with walking the tightrope was editors increasingly viewed a reporter’s duty to the paper as a requirement to shank their sources in print to show where their loyalties lay.

The editors were convinced a 2005 recall petition mounted by radio talk show host and blogger Thaddeus Matthews would succeed. They considered it a foregone conclusion that Matthews would gather more than enough signatures on the petitions and do it well before the deadline to file with the Shelby County Election Commission.

The newspaper’s planned coverage moved past the recall drive itself. The editors ordered up a piece on who was likely to run in the recall election that followed. They approached at least two reporters with the task before the effort flagged just enough for the piece to become an article on who might run for city mayor in 2007.

The fact that politicos across the city were still waiting to see if the 2006 county elections would offer any opportunities didn’t cross their minds. Calls to those politicos were met with widespread laughter and wonderment at the eccentric methods afoot at the CA. The petition drive failed and Matthews backed Herenton’s 2007 bid for re-election.

Distance learning

By this past February, CA management signed off on a content-sharing agreement with fellow Scripps paper The Knoxville News Sentinel, as well as The Tennesseean newspaper in Nashville and the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The Feb. 5 agreement was already in effect by the time an internal memo from News Sentinel management surfaced in early March in Editor & Publisher.

The CA and the Knoxville newspaper had used such a strategy for years in covering politics. The result was that the CA continued to do without any local political coverage beyond biographical pieces introducing candidates.

Statewide races for governor and the U.S. Senate were covered from Knoxville or by the CA’s Nashville bureau chief, Richard Locker, or in some cases by Bartholomew Sullivan, a former CA reporter who now works for the Scripps News Service’s Washington bureau. That meant candidates for statewide office coming to Memphis were usually covered before they got to the city or after they left.

The agreement was most visible during the 2006 U.S. Senate race between Republican Bob Corker of Chattanooga and Democrat Harold Ford Jr. of Memphis. One of the campaign’s crucial events was a showdown between the two at Memphis International Airport.

Corker had called a press conference there. Ford crashed the event ahead of time and the two faced off in the airport parking lot – a few inches from each other with television cameras and microphones surrounding them.

There was no CA reporter in the press pack. Sullivan covered what became known as the “parking lot debate” from the D.C. bureau.

...

63. Wrestling Promoter Preps For County Clerk Run -

Wrestling promoter and television personality Corey Maclin is the latest Democratic candidate to announce his intentions for the 2010 countywide elections.

Maclin on Monday told members of the local Democratic Executive Committee that he will be a candidate in the 2010 Democratic primary for Shelby County clerk.

64. Maclin Announces For County Clerk -

Wrestling promoter and television personality Corey Maclin in the latest Democratic candidate to announce his intention for the 2010 county-wide elections.

Maclin told members of the local Democratic Executive Committee Monday that he will be a candidate in the 2010 Democratic primary for Shelby County Clerk.

Maclin, president and chief executive officer of Maclin & Associates Advertising and Promotions, told The Daily News he had considered running for the post held by Republican Debbie Stamson in 2006 but passed on the race. Stamson beat Democratic nominee Otis Jackson by 478 votes in the 2006 general election. Jackson ran in 2008 for General Sessions Court Clerk as the Democratic nominee and upset Republican incumbent Chris Turner.

Monday’s meeting was the first of the new executive committee since it was elected at a county convention earlier this month and elected attorney Van Turner Jr. as the new party chairman. They followed up by electing attorney Desi Franklin, who was instrumental in Turner’s victory over rival Jay Bailey, as first vice chair of the party. Cherry Davis, who had been first vice chair was elected second vice chair.

The only contested selection was for party secretary. Reginald Milton, another Turner ally, was the committee’s pick over Del Gill, a Bailey ally. Barbara Williams was reappointed party treasurer by Turner.

Read more in Wednesday’s edition of The Daily News.

...

65. Maclin Announces For County Clerk -

Wrestling promoter and television personality Corey Maclin is the latest Democratic candidate to announce his intentions for the 2010 county-wide elections.

Maclin told members of the local Democratic Executive Committee tonight that he will be a candidate in the 2010 Democratic primary for Shelby County Clerk.

66. Perry Enters Probate Clerk Race -

Add another candidate to the already forming 2010 Shelby County ballot.

Clay Perry, deputy administrator to the Shelby County Board of Commissioners, is in the race for Shelby County Probate Court clerk.

67. Commission to Vote On New Judge -

The candidates will outnumber commissioners today when the Shelby County Board of Commissioners votes on a new General Sessions Criminal Court judge.

There are 15 candidates for the Division 10 judgeship that became vacant with the Jan. 2 death of veteran jurist Anthony Johnson. There are 13 county commissioners.

68. Jackson’s Election Signals Change In Clerk’s Office -

Shelby County General Sessions Court Clerk Otis Jackson Jr. turned 48 this week and walked into the clerk’s office for the first time as the clerk.

Jackson, a Democrat, upset incumbent clerk Chris Turner, a Republican, in the Aug. 7 county general elections. From then to Sept. 1, when Jackson officially took office, there wasn’t a transition.

69. Johnson, Jackson To Be Sworn in Sunday -

Two newly minted elected officials will be formally sworn into office Sunday.

Cheyenne Johnson, who succeeds Rita Clark as Shelby County assessor of property, and Otis Jackson, who succeeds Chris Turner as General Sessions Court clerk, will take their oaths of office Sunday in a ceremony at 5 p.m. in the Shelby County Board of Commissioners Chambers at 160 N. Main St.

70. Cohen, Blackburn Lead Local Election Winners -

More than half and possibly as much as 75 percent of Shelby County’s nearly 626,000 voters are expected to turn out for the Nov. 4 election that will be highlighted by the John McCain-Barack Obama battle for the White House.

71. Cohen Crushes Tinker - Jackson Upsets Turner - Charter Changes Pass-Fail - Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen was the big winner in Thursday’s primary elections. Cohen, with 80 percent of the vote, crushed challenger Nikki Tinker in the hard fought 9th District Democratic primary.

The upset of the evening was the general election contest for General Sessions Court Clerk where Democratic challenger Otis Jackson beat Republican incumbent Chris Turner.

And only one of two sets of Shelby County charter amendments on the ballot were approved by voters.

Voter turnout was just under 16 percent in Shelby County. Voter turnout was clearly driven by the 9th District Democratic primary. More people voted in that primary which covers most but not all of Shelby County than voted countywide in the state Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate. Turnout in the Democratic primaries was twice that of the Republican primaries in Shelby County.

All results are unofficial pending audit and certification by the Shelby County Election Commission and Tennessee election officials

9th Congressional District
Democratic Primary
Steve Cohen 50,284 79%
Nikki Tinker 11,814 19%
Joe Towns Jr. 914 1%

Not even close. Cohen won the primary for the open all Shelby County seat two years ago by 4,400 votes over Tinker and 13 other candidates. This time around he was the incumbent and Tinker’s challenge was more strident with a pair of controversial attack ads in the gap between the end of early voting and election day. Both were probably factors in the vote totals along with a smaller field of five candidates.

Cohen faces independent candidate Jake Ford in the Nov. 4 general election.

7th Congressional District
Republican Primary
248 of 265 precincts reporting
Marsha Blackburn 29,158 65%
Tom Leatherwood 15,636 35%

These are the results district wide which includes not only the eastern part of Shelby County but a strip of Middle Tennessee up to the Kentucky state line. In Shelby County’s part of the 7th district, Leatherwood beat Blackburn with 62 percent of the vote. But it was 62 percent of just over 19,000 votes. Outside Shelby County it was always going to be difficult for Leatherwood.. The low voter turnout in Collierville and other eastern parts of the county made Leatherwood’s task impossible.

Blackburn faces Democrat Randy G. Morris on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Shelby County Charter Amendment #360
Yes  49,506   49.73%

No   50,043   50,27%

Closest contest of the night in Shelby County with a 537 vote margin and the highest turnout with 99,549 votes total.

This set of charter changes was to fix a legal problem noted in a recent Tennessee Supreme Court ruling. Another part of the package deal was increasing term limits for the county mayor and the county commission from two consecutive four year terms approved by voters in 1994 to three consecutive four year terms. The County Commission meets Monday to ponder whether it should offer another charter amendment on the Nov. 4 ballot that would fix the legal problem.

Shelby County Charter Amendment #361
Yes 65,548 68%
No 30,188 32%

This set of charter amendment includes provisions for recalling elected officials. It also establishes a new method for filling a vacancy in the office of County Mayor.

General Sessions Court Clerk
Otis Jackson 51,438 52%
Chris Turner 43,971 45%

The upset of the evening. Turner, the Republican nominee and the incumbent was seeking a fourth term. Jackson, the Democratic nominee, was making his fourth bid for county-wide office after coming close in a 2006 bid for County Clerk.

Trustee
Paul Mattila 54,734 57%
Ray Butler 29,977 31%

Mattila beats Butler in a race featuring an energetic and misleading campaign by M. LaTroy Williams in which Williams billed himself as the “real Democrat.” He was, in fact, an independent candidate garnering 8 percent of the vote. Mattila fills the remaining two years left in the term of office of the late Bob Patterson, a Republican. Mattila, a Democrat, worked with Patterson. Butler, the Republican, was also a friend of Patterson’s and the race amounted to who would best continue to operate the office as Patterson did.

Criminal Court Judge Div. 6
John Fowlkes 44,581 52%
Latonya Burrow 21,874 26%
Michael G. Floyd 12,071 14%
Claiborne H. Ferguson 6,240 7%

Fowlkes serves out the remaining six years left of the eight year term of office of Fred Axley who resigned from the bench shortly after winning re-election in 2006. Burrow finished a close second to Axley two years ago and again ran an energetic campaign this time around. But Fowlkes status in the legal community and his appointment to the bench by Gov. Phil Bredesen proved to be the advantage.

Assessor of Property
Cheyenne Johnson 59,637 60%
Bill Giannini 39,057 40%

Johnson, the Democratic nominee, easily beat Giannini, who is also doubling as local GOP chairman. Local Democrats keep the county-wide position in their column as voters go for the candidate endorsed by outgoing Democratic incumbent Rita Clark.

U.S. Senate
Democratic Primary
2,192 of 2,290 precincts reporting
Bob Tuke 54,613 32%
Gary G. Davis 37,193 22%
Mike Padgett 32,190 19%
Mark Clayton 30,359 18%
Kenneth Eaton 13,718 8%
Leonard Ladner 4,431 3%

These are the statewide results. Tuke got 42 percent of the Shelby County vote with Clayton finishing second. Tuke, the former state Democratic Party chairman, faces Republican incumbent Lamar Alexander, one of the most successful politicians in the history of the state, in the Nov. 4 general election.

Judicial Retention Races

All seven state appellate court judges, including two Tennessee Supreme Court justices, won their yes/no contests on the ballot across the state. That includes Tennessee Criminal Appeals Court Judge Camille McMullen of Millington who was just appointed to the bench in June by Gov. Phil Bredesen.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

...

72. Filing Deadline For Elections Is Thursday -

A healthy voter turnout doesn't necessarily mean every race on the ballot gets the benefit. Politicos call it "ballot falloff." It means races such as those for president or mayor get voters to the polls. But those same voters might decide not to vote in the other races.

73. Obama, Huckabee Dominate Shelby in Tenn. Primaries -

The presidential primary season came to a rain-soaked and stormy end Tuesday evening in Memphis even as some voters were still showing up at the polls.

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama and Republican Mike Huckabee carried Shelby County in Tuesday's Tennessee presidential primaries in which 24 percent of Shelby County's 611,000 registered voters cast ballots.

74. Obama, Huckabee Carry Shelby In Tn Primary -

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama and Republican Mike Huckabee carried Shelby County in Tuesday’s Tennessee presidential primaries.

Huckabee went on to win statewide in the GOP contest while New York Sen. Hillary Clinton took the statewide Democratic primary.

75. Early Votes Set Stage for 'Super Tuesday' -

Through the first five days of early voting, 1,152 Shelby County voters have cast ballots in advance of the Feb. 5 "Super Tuesday" election. Early voting opened Jan. 16 at Shelby County Election Commission headquarters, 157 Poplar Ave. The balloting expands to 18 satellite locations starting today.

76. Primary Voting Begins Today -

Early voting in the Feb. 5 Tennessee presidential primaries and the primaries for Shelby County property assessor and General Sessions Court clerk opens today.

Shelby County voters begin making their choices in the presidential races as the contenders are focused on the coming South Carolina primaries.

77. Two Primary Contests Set, Two to Go -

Two of the four Shelby County primaries on the Feb. 5 ballot were decided at last week's filing deadline for candidates in the races for Property Assessor and General Sessions Court Clerk.

The fields in the two other primaries aren't set just yet. The candidates have until noon Thursday to withdraw if they wish. Then the Shelby County Election Commission will meet to certify the ballot. The county primaries will share the Feb. 5 ballot with the Tennessee Democratic and Republican presidential primaries.

78. Assessor, Court Clerk Candidates Unchallenged in Primaries -

Two of the four Shelby County primary elections on the Feb. 5 ballot will be one-candidate affairs.

Incumbent General Sessions Court Clerk Chris Turner effectively won the GOP primary for his position at today’s filing deadline for candidates in the Feb. 5 primaries. And Cheyenne Johnson won the Democratic primary for Property Assessor.

79. Assessor, Court Clerk Candidates Unchallenged in Primaries -

Two of the four Shelby County primary elections on the Feb. 5 ballot will be one-candidate affairs.

Incumbent General Sessions Court Clerk Chris Turner effectively won the GOP primary for his position at today’s filing deadline for candidates in the Feb. 5 primaries. And Cheyenne Johnson won the Democratic primary for Property Assessor.

80. Election Time Again -

Don't look now but here come the first local elections of 2008.

Thursday at noon is the filing deadline for candidates to file their qualifying petitions for the Feb. 5 Democratic and Republican primaries for Shelby County's General Sessions Court clerk and property assessor.

81. Push Is on to Pull Wharton Into Race Against Herenton -

With a week to the filing deadline for candidates on the October city ballot, Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton Jr. has a lot to consider.

The draft movement to get him into the race for Memphis mayor is the campaign season's best bet for a surprise. The effort launched Wednesday.

82. Royalty Money Better Late Than Never, Music Heritage Group Insists -

The Stax record label could be headed for a potential rebirth, thanks to Justin Timberlake's announcement Sept. 15 that he wants to build a contemporary version of the iconic label, which started in 1959 as a small record store in South Memphis and later helped launch the careers of music legends like Isaac Hayes and Otis Redding.

83. Archived Article: Redding (lead) - Mr Mr. Pitiful may be honored with park By MARY DANDO The Daily News The man who sang "Ive Got Dreams to Remember" and "(Sitting On) The Dock of the Bay" may have a permanent memorial in Memphis when Otis Redding Park is complete...

84. Archived Article: Memos - Thompson & Co Thompson & Co. has added three employees: Suzanne Gibson has joined the company as a senior account executive. She formerly was a marketing consultant. Gibson is a graduate of Robert Morris College. Janice Chu Kelly has joined ...

85. Archived Article: Memos - Kevin Mitchell has been promoted from art director to associate creative director at Walker & Associates Inc Kevin Mitchell has been promoted from art director to associate creative director at Walker & Associates Inc. He is a graduate of th...

86. Archived Article: Memos - State Technical Institutes corporate center has added three assistant directors to its staff: State Technical Institutes corporate center has added three assistant directors to its staff: Jane Sipes is the new assistant director of distance learning...