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Editorial Results (free)

1. Memphis Bar Judicial Poll Released -

The Memphis Bar Association poll of attorneys on the judicial races on the Aug. 7 ballot shows 16 percent to as high as 38 percent of the attorneys participating have no opinion in many of the judicial races.

2. Harris Files Ford Challenge at Deadline -

Memphis City Council member Lee Harris is challenging Democratic state Sen. Ophelia Ford in the August primary for District 29, the Senate seat held by a member of the Ford family since 1975.

3. 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.

...

4. Criminal Court Candidates Lined Up for August Ballot -

A total of 21 candidates are in the race for General Sessions Court Judge Division 7.

The field remained at 21 at Monday’s deadline for candidates to withdraw. It is the largest field of any election, primary or general, on the Aug. 5 ballot.

5. 21 In Field for General Sessions Criminal Court Judge Race -

A total of 21 candidates are in the race for General Sessions Court Judge Division 7.

The field remained at 21 at Monday’s noon deadline for candidates to withdraw. It is the largest field of contenders of any election, primary or general on the Aug. 5 ballot.

6. New Vacancies Add to Judicial Races on Ballot -

The Aug. 5 election will feature five special judicial elections.

One of the two latest races to go on the ballot is for the Criminal Court Division 3 judge’s position being vacated by John Colton, whose resignation is effective April 30. He originally set the date for June 30, but changed it so the vacancy could be up for public vote.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

...

11. Few Surprises At Filing Deadline -

About half of Shelby County's delegation to the Tennessee Legislature won re-election at Thursday's filing deadline for candidates on the Aug. 7 ballot.

Eight of the 16 state House seats had only one candidate - the incumbent. And all three of the state Senate seats on the ballot were incumbent-only affairs.

12. Primaries Heat Up as Filing Deadline Passes - The race for the Memphis 9th Congressional District seat will have no Republican contenders.

At Thursday’s deadline for candidates to file in the Aug. 7 state and Congressional primaries, no Republicans had filed for the GOP primary.

13. Primaries Heat Up as Filing Deadline Passes - The race for the Memphis 9th Congressional District seat will have no Republican contenders.

At today’s deadline for candidates to file in the Aug. 7 state and Congressional primaries, no Republicans had filed for the GOP primary.