Election Filing Deadline Looms

By Bill Dries

Candidates in the Aug. 2 set of elections have until noon Thursday, April 5, to file their qualifying petitions in the set of state legislative and congressional primary races as well as the seven general election races for Shelby County school board.

Political signs from a recent election line the pavement along Poplar Avenue outside the Election Commission building. The filing deadline for the August election is Thursday.

(Photo: Lance Murphey)

And in the days ahead of the deadline most of the action has been in the seven school board races.

The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com, will include a complete list of those who have filed Thursday afternoon following the deadline. The Daily News will also live tweet updates at @tdnpols just before and at the deadline.

The two most active races near the deadline were the non-partisan contests for school board districts 1 and 5.

Seven of the 23 seats on the countywide school board are on the ballot. Seven citizens appointed to the seats by the Shelby County Commission last year hold them until Sept. 1 when the winners of the Aug. 2 elections take office.

Those seven winners will be the entire school board as of Sept. 1, 2013, when the other 16 school board members – all nine members of the old Memphis City Schools board and all seven members of the old Shelby County Schools board – end their service on the board as part of the transition to a consolidated school system in August 2013.

District 1 incumbent Chris Caldwell filed earlier. This week Michael Donohoe filed in the race. Noel Hutchison, who was a contender for the appointment to the seat last year, has a qualifying petition but had not filed as of Tuesday evening, according to the Shelby County Election Commission website.

Also this week, Freda Williams, one of nine members of the old Memphis City Schools board, picked up a petition for the race.

The biggest development in the District 5 school board race was the filing this week of former Shelby County Schools board chairman David Pickler for the seat now held by attorney Vanecia Kimbrow, who has a qualifying petition pulled.

Kim Wirth, an International Paper Co. executive who is executive committee board chairman of the nonprofit Memphis City Schools Foundation, also filed for District 5 this week. So has Edgar Babian.

Two other members of the old city and county school boards have petitions out for the seven school board districts. They are former Shelby County Schools board member David Reaves, who has pulled for District 3, and former Memphis City Schools board member Betty Mallott, who has a petition out for District 4.

If any of the members of the two former boards win their races, the Shelby County Commission would appoint someone to fill the remaining year left in their old terms of office on the transition board.

Meanwhile, state Rep. G.A. Hardaway, one of four Democratic incumbents left to scramble for two seats in the state House after redistricting, said Tuesday, he is considering a challenge in the Democratic primary to District 93 state Rep. Mike Kernell.

Hardaway has pulled petitions in several other state House races as well as state Senate District 30.

Kernell, the second-longest serving member of the Shelby County delegation to Nashville, has pulled a petition for re-election.

State Senate Democratic leader Jim Kyle filed this week for re-election to his District 30 seat, which he now shares with Democratic state Sen. Beverly Marrero after redistricting. Marrero has pulled a qualifying petition as well.