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.
Harris filed his qualifying petition with the Shelby County Election Commission just before the noon Thursday, April 3, deadline for candidates on the ballot.
Those candidates whose petitions are certified have until April 10 at noon to withdraw if they wish.
In a letter sent to potential supporters Thursday, Harris said, “I’m running because I believe folks are ready for change. … The last time she ran for re-election, no other candidates even bothered to file. She already has more than $21,000 in the bank. The race is against an entrenched incumbent and is only winnable if everyone pitches in.”
Harris’ entry into the state Senate primary appeared to be the major development at the deadline. The rest of the deadline action was filling in the fields in other races, with some incumbents watching closely to see if their unopposed status remained after the deadline or whether the field of contenders they were a part of got any bigger.
Miska Clay Bibbs, director of community engagement for Green Dot Public Schools, a charter school organization, claimed the District 7 seat on the Shelby County Schools board by virtue of being the only candidate to file in the race.
Statewide at the deadline, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam had three challengers in the August Republican primary for governor. None of the three are well-known political names.
That is also the case in the Democratic primary for governor, which drew seven candidates at the deadline, according to the Tennessee Secretary of State’s website.
State Democratic Party leaders had tried since last year to field a better-known contender capable of mounting a viable statewide challenge. The closest they came was former Tennessee Regulatory Commission member Sara Kyle of Memphis, who weighed such a challenge but passed on the bid.
Meanwhile, former Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn was among a field of eight challengers Republican U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander will face in the August statewide Senate primary.
Of the three state Senate seats in the Shelby County delegation on this year’s ballot, two incumbents face challenges. Republican Brian Kelsey has a primary challenger but no Democratic opposition.
Democratic incumbent Reginald Tate in District 33 showed as having primary opposition and no Republican opposition. But the day after the filing deadline E. Jefferson Jones' name had vanished from the list of candidates whose qualifying petitions has been reviewed as valid.
Ford drew three challengers in the Democratic primary, including Harris. The winner there faces the winner of the two-candidate Republican primary.
Among the 14 state House seats in the Shelby County delegation, six incumbents were effectively re-elected at the deadline for not having any opposition.
Among the judicial incumbents whose offices are up once every eight years, three Circuit Court incumbents – Jerry Stokes, Donna M. Fields and Robert L. Childers – drew no opposition. That was also the case for Chancery Court Part 3, where Kenny Armstrong was re-elected at the deadline.
Criminal Court incumbents Glenn L. Wright, Carolyn Wade Blackett, Chris Craft and James C. Beasley Jr. had no opposition, nor did General Sessions Criminal Court Judges Louis Montesi and Loyce Lambert Ryan.
In the seven school board races, only incumbent Billy Orgel was without opposition at the deadline.
However, Friday morning Election Commission staffers were still veryifying the signatures on the petition of David Winston in the District 5 race which also includes former Memphis City Council member Scott McCormick.
Here is the uncertified list from the Shelby County Election Commission after the noon Thursday deadline, with election commission staff still checking the signatures on the petitions submitted Thursday. The winners of the August primaries advance to the November general elections. The judicial and school board races are nonpartisan races that will be formally decided with the August elections.
Those contenders who met Thursday’s filing deadline have until noon, April 10, to withdraw if they wish. The election commission will then meet to certify the ballot.
Winners of the May county primaries advance to the August county general election ballot once those election results are certified by the election commission.
(I) = incumbent
State Senate District 29
Republican primary: Jim Finney, Anthony Herron
Democratic primary: Ricky Dixon, Ophelia Ford (I), Lee Harris, Herman Sawyer
State Senate District 31
Republican primary: Brian Kelsey (I), Jim Tomasik
State Senate District 33
Democratic primary: Reginald Tate (I)
State House District 83
Republican primary: Mark White (I)
State House District 84
Democratic primary: Joe Towns (I), Kenneth L. Wells
State House District 85
Democratic primary: Johnnie R. Turner (I), R.S. Ford
State House District 86
Democratic primary: Barbara Cooper (I)
Republican primary: George T. Edwards III
State House District 87
Democratic primary: Karen Camper (I)
State House District 88
Republican primary: Harry Barber
Democratic primary: Larry Miller (I)
State House District 90
Democratic primary: John DeBerry Jr. (I)
State House District 91
Republican primary: Sam Watkins, Orrden Williams Jr.
Democratic primary: Raumesh Akbari (I), Doris DeBerry Bradshaw
State House District 93
Republican primary: Colonel Gene Billingsley
Democratic primary: G.A. Hardaway (I)
State House District 95
Republican primary: Curry Todd (I)
State House District 96
Republican primary: Steve McManus (I)
Democratic primary: Hilman D. Thompson
State House District 97
Republican primary: Jim Coley (I)
State House District 98
Democratic primary: Antonio Parkinson (I)
State House District 99
Republican primary: Ron Lollar (I)
Shelby County Schools Board
Chris Caldwell (I), Freda Garner-Williams
Theodore King Jr., Anthony D. Lockhart, Stephanie P. Love
Scott McCormick, David Winston
Shante K. Avant, Jimmy L. Warren
Miska Clay Bibbs
William E. Orgel (I)
Michael L. Kernell, Damon Curry Morris, Roshun Austin, Cheryl J. Beard
Circuit Court Div. 1
Julie A. Byrd, Felicia Corbin Johnson, Leah J. Roen, Joe Townsend, Kyle Wiggins
Circuit Court Div. 2
Kevin K. Reed, James F. Russell (I), Robert A. Wampler
Circuit Court Div. 3
D’Army Bailey, Lee Ann Dobson
Circuit Court Div. 4
Gina Carol Higgins (I), Matthew S. Russell
Circuit Court Div. 5
Joseph E. Garrett, Rhynette Northcross Hurd, Dwight T. Moore
Circuit Court Div. 6
Jerry Stokes (I)
Circuit Court Div. 7
Donna M. Fields (I)
Circuit Court Div. 8
Venita Martin Andrews, Robert S. Weiss (I), Cedrick Wooten, Charles W. McDonald
Circuit Court Div. 9
Robert L. Childers (I)
Chancery Court Part 1
Walter Evans (I), Michael Richards
Chancery Court Part 2
Ken Besser, Jim Kyle, James Newsom, Paul A. Robinson
Chancery Court Part 3
Kenny Armstrong (I)
Criminal Court Div. 1
Michael G. Floyd, Paula Skahan (I), Nigel Lewis
Criminal Court Div. 2
Glenn L. Wright (I)
Criminal Court Div. 3
Latonya Sue Burrow, Bobby Carter Jr. (I)
Criminal Court Div. 4
Carolyn Wade Blackett (I)
Criminal Court Div. 5
Jim Lammey (I), Mozella T. Ross
Criminal Court Div. 6
John W. Campbell (I), Alicia A. Howard
Criminal Court Div. 7
Lee Coffee (I), Kenya Brooks
Criminal Court Div. 8
Chris Craft (I)
Criminal Court Div. 9
Christine M. Cane, Mark Ward (I)
Criminal Court Div. 10
James C. Beasley Jr. (I)
Probate Court Div. 1
Damita Dandridge, Kathleen Gomes (I), Richard Parks
Probate Court Div. 2
Danny W. Kail, Karen D. Webster (I)
General Sessions Civil Div. 1
Sheila Bruce-Renfroe, Lynn Cobb (I)
General Sessions Civil Div. 2
Phyllis Gardner (I), Myra May Hamilton
General Sessions Civil Div. 3
John A. Donald (I), David Pool
General Sessions Civil Div. 4
Deborah A. Means Henderson (I)
General Sessions Civil Div. 5
Ellen E. Fite, Betty Thomas Moore (I)
General Sessions Civil Div. 6
Christian Johnson, Lonnie Thompson (I)
General Sessions Criminal Div. 7
Bill Anderson Jr. (I), James Jones Jr.
General Sessions Criminal Div. 8
Tim J. Dwyer (I), J. Nathan Toney
General Sessions Criminal Div. 9
Melissa Boyd, Joyce Broffit (I), Gerald D. Skahan
General Sessions Criminal Div. 10
Cathy A. Kent, Larry Sims II, Chris Turner (I)
General Sessions Criminal Div. 11
Mischelle Alexander-Best, Karen Lynne Massey (I)
General Sessions Criminal Div. 12
Silvio Ronald Lucchesi, Gwen Rooks (I), Bryan Anthony Davis
General Sessions Criminal Div. 13
Louis Montesi (I)
General Sessions Criminal Div. 14
Larry Potter (I), Latrena Davis Ingram, Kim Gilmore Sims
General Sessions Criminal Div. 15
Loyce Lambert Ryan (I)
Juvenile Court Judge
Dan Michael, Tarik Sugarmon
Collierville Municipal Judge
William Craig Hall (I)
Germantown Municipal Judge
Raymond Clift (I)
Bob Brannon (I)
Millington Municipal Judge
A. Wilson Wages
Here is the list of contenders in the federal primaries on the August ballot who filed in Memphis, Nashville, other cities and counties across the state and Washington D.C. All independent candidates by the deadline automatically advance to the November ballot.
Republican primary: Mark Coonrippy Brown, Bill Haslam (I), Basil Marceaux Sr., Donald Ray McFolin
Democratic primary: Charles V. “Charlie” Brown, Ron Noonan, Ed Borum, Mark Clayton, Jesse Gore, Kennedy Spellman Johnson, John McKamey
Green Primary: Isa Infante
Libertarian Primary: Daniel T. Lewis
8th Congressional District
Republican primary: Stephen Fincher (I), Dana Matheny, John Mills
Democratic primary: Wes Bradley, Rickey R. Hobson, Lawrence A. Pivnick, Tom Reasons
Constitution Party primary: Mark J. Rawles
9th Congressional District
Republican primary: Charlotte Bergmann
Democratic primary: Isaac Richmond, Steve Cohen (I), Ricky E. Wilkins.
Republican primary: Lamar Alexander (I), Fred R. Anderson, Joe Carr, John D. King, Erin Kent Magee, Christian Agnew, Floyd Conover, George Flinn, Brenda S. Lenard
Democratic primary: Terry Adams, Gary Gene Davis, Terry Adams, Gordon Ball, Larry Crim.