VOL. 127 | NO. 152 | Monday, August 06, 2012
County Sees 21.6 Pct. Voter Turnout
By Bill Dries
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.
The three countywide general election races were a return of incumbents – two who were appointed to their offices and a third seeking a second term – two Democrats and one Republican.
Republican Amy Weirich was appointed District Attorney General by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam in early 2011 when Haslam also tapped Bill Gibbons to be his safety and homeland security commissioner.
Weirich beat Democratic challenger Carol Chumney with the biggest countywide vote total – 83,433 – of any candidate in any race on the ballot, including U.S Senator Bob Corker. It was an impressive electoral debut for Weirich who has never run for elected office before.
She now serves the remaining two years left in Gibbons’ eight-year term of office.
Democratic General Sessions Court Clerk Ed Stanton was second-highest with 67,258 votes in his defeat of Republican challenger Rick Rout. Stanton was appointed to the clerk’s job by the General Sessions Court Judges after elected Clerk Otis Jackson was indicted on official misconduct charges that are still pending.
Democratic Property Assessor Cheyenne Johnson had the third-highest vote total with 65,903 votes in her defeat of Republican challenger Tim Walton. Johnson was first elected in 2008 and in the move of the Assessor’s race to another election cycle, Johnson will serve a one-time term of two years.
Voters decided the issue of 16 State House incumbents from Shelby County seeking 14 house seats in the legislature as well as three State Senate incumbent seeking two seats in the upper chamber. The excess incumbents were a result of redistricting that put two Democratic incumbents in each of three Shelby County Districts.
In the State Senate District 32 Democratic primary veteran legislator Jim Kyle beat fellow Democratic Senate incumbent Beverly Marrero
In the State House District 93 Democratic primary G.A Hardaway beat Mike Kernell, the second longest serving member of the Shelby County delegation to Nashville. Kernell was first elected in 1974, two years after Democrat Lois Deberry who ran unopposed.
In the third incumbent-on-incumbent primary match up between Shelby Democrats, John DeBerry and Jeanne Richardson in District 90, DeBerry won easily with Ian Randolph running third.
Millington voters had the busiest ballot in Shelby County with races for mayor and all 7 aldermen positions.
Kenneth Uselton and Terry Jones advanced to an apparent runoff to become the first Millington mayor who will work as a part-time elected official with a full-time city manager city leaders plan to hire by the end of this year.
Millington Mayor Linda Carter and the board of aldermen voted to make the change in the mayor’s job as a result of the corruption scandal that forced Mayor Richard Hodges to resign after being indicted on state charges.
Uselton beat former Mayor Terry Jones in his quest to reclaim the office he lost four years ago to Hodges. But neither got a majority of the votes.