For the first time in 41 years, Lois DeBerry’s name will not be on a Shelby County ballot for a state House seat.
Voters take to the polls Tuesday in a Democratic primary special election for the state House District 91 seat.
(Daily News File/Lance Murphey)
The longest-serving state representative in the House died in July, setting the stage for the Tuesday, Oct. 8, Democratic primary special election for her District 91 seat.
The winner of the seven-candidate primary advances to a Nov. 21 special general election against independent candidate Jim Tomasik, who filed his qualifying petition as a Libertarian. No Republican candidates filed for the seat in the district, which has remained heavily Democratic throughout the four once-a-decade redistricting processes – spanning DeBerry’s 20 successful election campaigns for the seat.
Whoever ultimately wins the seat will likely be running for a full two-year term in the 2014 elections.
The polls at 39 precincts in the district, which generally covers South Memphis, are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Follow the election returns at @tdnpols, www.twitter.com/tdnpols, after the polls close, then check The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com, for post-election coverage.
Five of the seven candidates in the Democratic primary are political newcomers.
Kemba Ford, an actress and producer, and daughter of former state Sen. John Ford, ran unsuccessfully for the Memphis City Council in 2011.
Clifford N. Lewis, who owns a home repair and rehab business with his son, has run for several offices over the years and has been a member of the local Democratic Party’s executive committee.
Raumesh Akbari is an attorney who works in a family business. She has the political support of state Rep. Barbara Cooper.
Doris A. DeBerry-Bradshaw is a cousin of DeBerry and the sister of state Rep. John DeBerry.
Joshua R. Forbes came to Memphis to attend All Saints Bible College and has worked in various ministries in the inner city.
Terica Lamb owns a third-party logistics firm and works in the Shelby County Trustee’s office.
Kermit Moore is a regional director of the A. Phillip Randolph Institute.
Early voting in the primary was light, with the 671 early votes amounting to just 2 percent of the district’s 32,960 voters.
Primary elections historically generate the lowest voter turnout of any regularly scheduled election cycle. Special primary elections that are the only ballot item generate an even lower percentage of voter turnout.
The November general election for the seat will share ballot space in District 91 with a citywide referendum on a half-percent sales tax increase.
The Nov. 21 balloting will be the last of 11 elections in different parts of Shelby County in a three-month period. Only two of those, the Sept. 19 municipal elections in Lakeland and Arlington, were regularly scheduled elections.