VOL. 129 | NO. 166 | Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Field of 15 Apply for Chancery Court Judge
By Bill Dries
A field of 15 Memphis attorneys applied to become the newest Chancery Court Judge as Chancellor Kenny Armstrong moves to a seat on the state appeals court in a week.
The deadline for candidates to apply to the Governor’s Commission for Judicial Appointments was Monday, Aug. 25.
Of the 15 attorneys who applied, nine were candidates in the August judicial elections in Shelby County for other judgeships.
Armstrong ran unopposed in August for re-election to Chancery Court. After the deadline to withdraw from the August ballot had passed but before election day, Armstrong was appointed to the state court of appeals by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam effective Sept. 1 creating the vacancy in Chancery Court.
The attorneys to be considered by the commission are: Mischelle Alexander Best, Kenneth Raymond Besser, Matthew G. Buyer, Julie Ann Dichtel Byrd, Oscar C. Carr III, Lee Ann Pafford Dobson, Charles W. McDonald, Kimbrough Brown Mullins, James Robert Newsom III, Howard Rex Peppel, David L. Pool, Kevin E. Reed, William Michael Richards, Dennis J. Sossaman and David Michael Waldrop.
The commission will meet Sept. 10 in Memphis to interview the contenders and make a list of three finalists to be submitted to Haslam for Haslam’s decision.
Meanwhile, the Shelby County Election Commission certified the August election results Monday for Shelby County and continued preparations for the Nov. 4 ballot.
Those preparations include continuing to check signatures on petitions to put a wine in grocery stores referendum question on the ballot in Memphis and in unincorporated Shelby County.
The Election Commission announced last week that the proposal will be on the ballot in all six of Shelby County’s suburban towns and cities.
The certification of signatures on the petition for Memphis should be completed this week, possibly by Wednesday.
Elections Administrator Richard Holden said even if every signature on the petition for unincorporated Shelby County were valid – a voter who lives in the unincorporated county – there still wouldn’t be enough signatures to meet the legal standard to put the question on the ballot there.
The Election Commission will meet Sept. 3 to certify the field of candidates in the four sets of suburban municipal elections on the ballot in Germantown, Collierville, Bartlett and Millington.
The next day, Sept. 4, is when the state certifies nominees in the November general election for all 99 seats in the Tennessee House of Representatives.
It is a critical date for any Shelby County state House member considering a bid for the District 30 state Senate seat Jim Kyle is giving up following his election to Chancery Court in August.
Like Armstrong, Kyle takes office Sept. 1.
The executive committees of the local Republican and Democratic parties will pick the nominees for the November special general election.
If either group picks a state House member, the House member would then have until Sept. 11 to decide which position they want to run for. If they withdraw from the House general election contest, according to Holden, their party would be without a nominee in the House race.
Kyle is awaiting a legal opinion from the Tennessee Attorney General’s office on the matter as well as other procedural questions.