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Editorial Results (free)

1. Last Word: Wahlburgers, CA For Sale and Council Day -

We really go for hot food brands around here – whether its restaurants or supermarkets. And it makes us suckers to some degree. I don’t mean that in a bad way. Memphis without being open to all possibilities and what others see as impossible is just not Memphis. But when it comes to the business of brands sometimes you start to wonder. We may be guilty of putting too much weight on a brand to solve problems that no brand anywhere can solve.

2. Lawmakers: Talk, Action On Crime Don’t Match -

State Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris of Memphis says some of the rhetoric about criminal justice reform – not locking up as many nonviolent offenders for longer sentences – doesn’t match the push for legislation in Nashville.

3. Last Word: Bar-Kays & ConFunkShun, Suburban Politics and Tom Bowen's 5 Years -

The Bar-Kays and ConFunkShun -- there’s a double shot of the deepest funk from the 1970s and 1980s. And they are together again Friday at the Cannon Center for the Juneteenth Urban Music Festival. It is also Larry Dodson’s last hometown show fronting The Bar-Kays.

4. Crews Move To Smaller Areas, Storm Damage Estimates Grow -

Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division’s response to the Saturday storm that knocked out power to 188,000 homes and businesses will cost the utility at least $7 million.

“We will spend in excess of $7 million and it could be well in excess of $7 million,” said MLGW president Jerry Collins.

5. House Approves Education Fund Concept, But Senate Action Put on Hold -

House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh pushed his K-12 education fund to passage Tuesday, May 9, but the possibility of funding and Senate approval will have to wait until 2018.

Dubbed the “K-12 Block Grant Act,” the measure calls for setting aside $250 million in excess state revenue for interest-generating investment to provide grant money for school systems statewide. Each system could use the funds for state-approved programs such as reading coaches or dual enrollment, items not funded through Tennessee’s Basic Education Program.

6. Tennessee House Abandons Amendments Before Approving State Budget -

Putting a day of acrimony behind it, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a $37 billion budget plan on Friday, May 5, stripping away nearly $320 million in amendments placed on it the previous day.

7. View From the Hill: Forrest Kerfuffle Might Be Sign of Bigger Problem -

Legislation that slipped through the House of Representatives honoring an unknown author who penned a Nathan Bedford Forrest apologist biography was enabled by the climate within the Republican-controlled body, a Memphis legislator says.

8. Last Word: Budget Books and Line Items, Top of the Road List and Silencers -

The comforting thud of reams of bound printed paper hitting a wooden table top. The sound of pages turning as Power Points are read aloud. Yes, fellow citizens of the republic, it is budget season in Shelby County. The gavel fell on Memphis City Council budget hearings Tuesday at City Hall. And Wednesday morning Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell takes his budget proposal to the County Commission. A note about the city budget deliberations. Tuesday’s opening session saw the return of council member Janis Fullilove to City Hall after being out for a while due to an extended illness.

9. House Leader Casada Backs Towns’ Slavery Amendment to State Constitution -

NASHVILLE – Rep. Joe Towns’ legislation to remove slavery from the state Constitution is being postponed until 2018, but it picked up a key endorsement Monday from Republican House Majority Leader Glen Casada.

10. Towns’ Slavery Amendment Gets Backing From House Leader -

Rep. Joe Towns’ legislation to remove slavery from the state Constitution is being postponed until 2018, but it picked up a key endorsement Monday from Republican House Majority Leader Glen Casada.

11. Tenn. Lawmakers Look to Void Resolution Honoring Forrest Biographer -

NASHVILLE – Memphis lawmakers blasted a Smyrna legislator Thursday morning, accusing him of violating their honor system by sliding a resolution through the House honoring an author they perceive as a Nathan Bedford Forrest apologist.

12. Tennessee Lawmakers Condemn Resolution Lauding Forrest Biographer -

Memphis lawmakers blasted a Smyrna legislator Thursday morning, accusing him of violating their honor system by sliding a resolution through the House honoring an author they perceive as a Nathan Bedford Forrest apologist.

13. House Concurs on Gas Tax Senate Version, Sends to Haslam For Signature -

Wrapping up wide-ranging legislation that dominated the opening year of the 110th General Assembly, the House concurred Monday with the Senate’s IMPROVE Act, inserting a $7 million measure to increase property tax breaks for veterans.

14. House, Senate Approve IMPROVE Act -

The House and Senate are nearly ready to send the IMPROVE Act to Gov. Bill Haslam, passing it with relatively wide voting margins after months of debate.

Only one adjustment is needed in a measure providing property tax relief for veterans, the disabled and elderly before the measure can be sent to Haslam.

15. Last Word: A New Chapter, The Kissell Dome and The New Bartlett High School -

Booksellers of Laurelwood is set to return in most of the same location with a smaller footprint and new owners. John Vergos of the Rendezvous and a former Memphis City Council member is among the investors bringing back the East Memphis institution that closed in February. No word on whether the new group will keep the name or go with a new name.

16. Memphis Rep. Towns Attacks Drug Lobby -

Legislation designed to make oral chemotherapy medication more affordable is hitting a snag in the form a financial reporting amendment.

The holdup is raising the ire of state Rep. Joe Towns Jr., who believes the Legislature is running scared of big drug companies.

17. Last Word: Lakeland Date Set, Silos in South Main and Trespassing in Apartments -

Here comes the Governor’s race with Randy Boyd doing the honors here in Memphis Wednesday at the top of the second day of his fly-around. Boyd’s opening sounds very much like he is running as the heir apparent to Gov. Bill Haslam – although there are no heirs in politics, at least not without an election. He talked a lot about hitting workforce development and job goals of the Haslam administration if he is elected Governor in 2018.

18. Bill to Create Criminal Trespassing at Apartment Complexes Could Face Legal Challenges -

NASHVILLE – Two Memphis lawmakers are pushing legislation designed to clear apartment complexes of trespassers, in some cases to ensure that emergency personnel avoid intimidation and threats when they answer calls dealing with shootings.

19. State Democrats Introduce Bill of Rights, Looking For Every Win They Can Get -

NASHVILLE – House Democrats introduced a People’s Bill of Rights in the State Capitol Monday, Feb. 27, a comprehensive legislative package to ensure rights of Tennesseans affecting everything from jobs to criminal justice to education.

20. Flurry of Bills Affecting LGBT Community Filed in State Legislature Before Deadline -

NASHVILLE – Tennessee lawmakers met last Thursday’s legislation-filing deadline with a host of social measures one Memphis representative describes as “wedge bills” because they drive people apart.

21. Bills Affecting LGBT Community Filed Before Deadline -

NASHVILLE – Tennessee lawmakers met last Thursday’s legislation-filing deadline with a host of social measures one Memphis representative describes as “wedge bills” because they drive people apart.

22. Norris Filing Catch-All Bill for Variations of Proposed IMPROVE Act -

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris is filing legislation for the Haslam administration to catch all transportation tax and revenue-related bills in an effort to “start anew” and minimize confusion.

23. Governor Defends Big Proposals for Statewide Infrastructure -

NASHVILLE – Protesters overshadowed Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s State of the State address Monday night, chanting in the Capitol in opposition to a spate of executive orders from President Donald Trump.

24. Towns: Junk Food Bill Would Bully the Poor -

State Rep. Joe Towns Jr., a Memphis Democrat, isn’t surprised that Rep. Sheila Butt dropped her bill limiting “junk food” for food stamp recipients.

“She should because she’s lost her damn mind,” Towns said Tuesday, Jan. 17. “How are you going to put out a bill to tell people what they can and can’t eat?”

25. Last Word: Haslam's Call, Redbirds Change Branding and Economists on Trump -

Wizards over Grizz in pre inaugural D.C. Wednesday evening 104-101. Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Cong. Steve Cohen in a number of Facebook and Twitter posts at the game. The Grizz return home Friday to play the Kings. Meanwhile, the Tigers in Houston Thursday to play the Cougars.

26. Memphis Lawmaker: Junk Food Bill Would Bully the Poor -

State Rep. Joe Towns Jr. of Memphis isn’t surprised that Rep. Sheila Butt dropped her bill limiting “junk food” for food stamp recipients.

“She should because she’s lost her damn mind,” Towns, a Memphis Democrat, said Tuesday. “How are you going to put out a bill to tell people what they can and can’t eat?”

27. Memphis Democrats Claim Five Leadership Posts -

Memphis Democrats claimed five of the nine leadership positions in the state House Democratic Caucus over the Thanksgiving weekend.

The caucus for the upcoming 2017-2018 legislative session selected Representative Joe Towns as assistant minority leader to returning minority leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley.

28. Last Word: Fires In the East, Corker at Trump Tower and The Toll of the Cure -

As our week here began very windy and very rainy with clouds all day Monday, there was a different kind of overcast day unfolding in East Tennessee. And by the time of this post the National Guard was patrolling parts of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge where wildfires had forced evacuations of both towns – all of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, according to the city manager of Pigeon Forge.

29. Memphis Democrats Claim Five Leadership Posts -

Memphis Democrats claimed five of the nine leadership positions in the state House Democratic Caucus over the Thanksgiving weekend.

The caucus for the upcoming 2017-2018 legislative session selected Representative Joe Towns as assistant minority leader to returning minority leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley.

30. Why is It So Difficult for Tennessee To Oust Indicted Politicians? -

Tennessee is lagging much of the nation when it comes to the ability to remove scoundrels from public office.

And, make no mistake, the Volunteer State has had its fair share of ne’er-do-well politicians who would likely have been thrown out of office if the proper procedures had been in place. 

31. Last Word: After The Fire, Hard Changes at Fred's and Durham Doesn't Go Quietly -

The immediate questions have simple answers. It was a short in an air conditioner cord that caused the fire that killed 9 people – three adults and six children – before dawn Monday morning in South Memphis.

32. Did ‘People Back Home’ Really Sway No Votes on Bible? -

I thought about skipping church Sunday and playing golf. After listening to the House of Representatives’ debate on the Bible bill, I could probably skip church for a month and still be in good standing.

33. Last Word: The Bible Veto Override Vote, Grizz Nostalgia and Kroger Goes Online -

The Tennessee Legislature hoped to end its 2016 session Wednesday at the end of an eventful day that included a failed attempt to override Gov. Bill Haslam’s veto of the bill that would have made the Bible the official state book.
But into Wednesday evening, the state House was still debating the Hall tax on dividends – specifically further roll backs of it. And the Senate had gone home for the night.
So Thursday looks like a good bet for the adjournment for the year and the formal start of the election season for incumbents.

34. August Primaries Feature Intra-Party Challenges -

Two years after a disastrous slate of races for countywide offices, there is a move among younger Democratic partisans in Memphis to shake up the Democrats who represent the city in the Tennessee Legislature.

35. 8th Congressional District Primaries Draw 22 Contenders, 13 Republican -

The Republican primary race to fill the 8th District Congressional seat Republican incumbent Stephen Fincher is giving up drew a field of 13 contenders – seven from Shelby County and four from Jackson, Tennessee – at the Thursday, April 7, noon filing deadline for the Aug. 4 ballot.

36. Amended Senate De-annexation Bill Faces More Debate -

The de-annexation bill whose defeat became City Hall’s top priority in March is off the political frontburner.

But Memphis Democrats in the Tennessee Legislature who opposed the de-annexation by referendum measure expect that this isn’t the end of the concept or the move to make it law.

37. Last Word: Back to Nashville, Dentistry & Genomes and Living The Fable -

The Memphis traffic is again heavy on the Interstate to Nashville as the Senate state and local government committee meets Tuesday to pick up where it left off with the still-forming version the upper chamber is crafting of the de-annexation bill.

38. Amendments Cloud Issue of De-Annexation -

Tennessee state senators go back to work Tuesday, March 29, in Nashville on a modified de-annexation bill.

The Senate State and Local Government Committee will be reviewing a set of amendments to their version of the bill, which changed substantially from the House version in a committee session last week.

39. Memphis Fights Back: Senate Poised To Do Real Damage via De-Annexation -

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland makes a persuasive argument against de-annexation legislation now being considered by the state Legislature, providing a long list of figures to show it would devastate the Bluff City.

40. Harris, Towns Hope to Delay Monday De-Annexation Vote -

Memphis Democrats in the Tennessee Legislature are hoping to delay a scheduled Monday, March 21, state Senate floor vote on a deannexation bill that cleared the state House a week ago.

“This train is moving very fast,” Democratic Sen. Lee Harris said Friday, March 18. “The city of Memphis has never made a significant presentation about the city of Memphis’ finances to the relevant committees or to the Senate members,” he added. “Minimally, we need to send this back to committee so that we can have some airing out of what the facts are and what the known consequences are. … Minimally, if you are going to devastate a city, you should know exactly what that means and what you are doing.”

41. Sparks Fly In Nashville Over Deannexation -

The Tennessee Legislature’s debate about a proposed deannexation law isn’t a case of Memphis against the rest of the state.

It’s a debate within the Shelby County legislative delegation and with a few exceptions, most of the critics of the measure that would allow referendums to undo annexations that are in some cases 18 years old are Memphis legislators.

42. Tennessee House Approves Deannexation Bill -

The Tennessee House approved a deannexation bill Monday, March 14, in a 68-25 vote after an emotional debate and a tide of amendments that were all voted down on the floor.

Republican state Representative Mike Carter of Hamilton County also disputed Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s claim that the city of Memphis stands to lose approximately $80 million in sales and property tax revenues.

43. Last Word: Hedgepeth Speaks, Josh Pastner's Future and Big Box Liquor -

Where else is there to begin but the Greensward controversy.
And we start with an email from Memphis City Council member Reid Hedgepeth in what is rapidly becoming a Last Word tradition and institution – the email in full.

44. Cohen Urges Memphis Clinton Supporters To Speak No Ill of Sanders -

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen told a group of 70 supporters of Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton that they should avoid attacking Bernie Sanders, her rival for the Democratic nomination.

45. Last Word: The Trade, Hardaway-Todd Grudge Match and Tomato Aspic -

Jeff Green leaves the Grizzlies for the Clippers and Lance Stephenson leaves the Clippers for the Grizzlies.
That was the trade at the NBA’s Thursday afternoon deadline that caused much of Thursday’s deadline buzz as well as lots of social media reaction.
Some of the reaction was tempered by the other part, a protected lottery pick for the Grizz as well.

46. Cohen Urges Clinton Supporters To Speak No Ill Of Sanders -

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen told a group of 70 supporters of Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton that they should avoid attacking Bernie Sanders, her rival for the Democratic nomination.

47. Black Caucus Demanding Change To Achievement School District -

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Legislature’s Black Caucus, led by Memphis members, has its sights set squarely on the Achievement School District, either eliminating it or putting it on hold until major improvements are made.

48. Memphis Legislators Sound Off On State-Run School District -

Armed with a Vanderbilt University study showing Shelby County schools that were taken over by the state’s Achievement School District are showing little to no improvement, Memphis legislators are nearly ready to kill the experiment.

49. Hillary Clinton to Visit Memphis -

Hillary Clinton is headed to Tennessee next month, with plans to make appearances in both Memphis and Nashville.

Campaign staff for the Democratic presidential frontrunner sent word Wednesday morning that she’ll make her first campaign stop in the state Nov. 20.

50. Clinton Campaign Names Tennessee Supporters -

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen and outgoing Memphis Mayor A C Wharton are among the Memphis Democrats who have formally joined former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

51. Clinton Campaign Names Tennessee Supporters -

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen and outgoing Memphis Mayor A C Wharton are among the Memphis Democrats who have formally joined former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

52. Haslam Makes Infrastructure Case In Memphis -

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is traveling across the state to encourage change in how road projects are funded.

But Haslam insists it is not a prelude to a pitch for an increase in the state’s fuel tax. It’s been 26 years since Tennessee made any changes to its road project financing method, Haslam said.

53. Canoes, Kayaks Line Up for Outdoors Inc.'s Memphis Race -

Mike Herbert, a Pan American Games gold medalist in kayak racing, will be the first to say that you just don’t know who you might meet on the water. All kinds of people step into a canoe or a kayak and get hooked.

54. After the Campaign -

The 2014 election year began in January with dissent from the floor.

At the end of the Shelby County Democratic Party’s annual Kennedy Day fundraiser in January, former Memphis City Council member and state Rep. Carol Chumney, who was not among the speakers, challenged the party establishment from her table to do more to support women running for office.

55. Election Commission Certifies August Vote -

The Shelby County Election Commission certified the August election results Monday, Aug. 25, at the beginning of a week that includes an early oath of office for those elected to county offices on the ballot.

56. Multiple Choice -

It could have been an election about the local criminal justice system. The set of once-every-eight-years judicial races was the perfect frame for competitive races for district attorney general and juvenile court judge as the main events.

57. Luttrell Opens Campaign With Warning -

The way Mark Luttrell sees it, his campaign for mayor in 2014 is different than his campaign four years ago because then he was challenging an incumbent and now he is the incumbent.

58. No Annexation Declaration Directs New Path -

In seven words last week, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. got the attention of hundreds of planners who gathered in the city for the “Memphis Boot Camp,” a summit of sorts toward the idea of changing the city’s philosophy and approach to community development and economic development.

59. Harris Files Ford Challenge at Deadline -

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.

60. Shelby County Party Heads Look Ahead to Primaries -

As Shelby County Democrats try to improve on losing every countywide office to Republicans in the 2010 county elections, party leaders are also warning political figures who identify as Democrats not to cross party lines.

61. Luttrell Begins Re-Election Bid for Mayor -

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell made it official Tuesday, Feb. 11, filing his qualifying petition with the Shelby County Election Commission to run for a second term of office.

62. Counseling Group Opens for Backlog Rape Victims -

The Shelby County Rape Crisis Center is starting a weekly support group for rape victims whose rape kits were among the 12,000 left untested by Memphis Police Department over a 30-year period.

The announcement of the support group came Tuesday, the same day the Tennessee Legislature convened for the year, with several proposals connected to the scandal expected to at least be debated, if not acted on, during the short election-year session.

63. Attorney General Reopens Nineteenth Century Club Review -

The state attorney general has reopened a review of the sale of the Nineteenth Century Club property on Union Avenue just as efforts by current and former club members to challenge the sale face a critical Monday fundraising deadline.

64. Council Debates Restoring MATA Service -

A day before the board of the Memphis Area Transit Authority votes on significant cuts in bus and trolley service, the Memphis City Council will review $2.1 million in capital spending for the authority.

65. Old Boundaries Fade as Schools Merger Nears -

There is still some power left in the line that separates Memphis City Schools from Shelby County Schools with about two weeks left until the two public school systems formally become one.

That was evident Tuesday, June 11, as the countywide school board approved a slate of 35 policy decisions for the merged school system whose fiscal year begins July 1.

66. School Board Meets as Budget Debate Grows -

Countywide school board members meet Tuesday, Feb. 12, in special session to send a still-forming budget for the first fiscal year of the consolidated school system to the Shelby County Commission.

67. Back to Work -

The Shelby County legislative delegation to Nashville returned to the capital Tuesday, Jan. 8, with three fewer members – one state senator and two state representatives – all Democrats – but with no new faces.

68. Polls Set to Open for Early Voting -

Shelby County voters start deciding Friday, July 13, general election countywide races for assessor of property, General Sessions Court clerk, district attorney general and a race for a Shelby County Commission seat. The ballot also includes seven races for district seats on the countywide school board.

69. Municipal Schools Referendum Bill Clears House -

The Tennessee State Senate will vote Monday, April 30, on the bill that would permit suburban towns and cities in Shelby County to hold referendums this year on forming their own municipal school districts.

70. Disclosure Requirement Finds Resistance in Tenn. House -

NASHVILLE (AP) – A bill seeking to require local and regional planning commissioners to file interest disclosures with the Tennessee Ethics Commission was met with last-minute resistance in the House on Thursday.

71. Following Primary, Races Point to August -

Two days after all the votes were counted in the Tennessee presidential primary, state Republican Party leaders had already worked out how many of the state’s at-large delegates would go to their top three candidates.

72. Harwell Stops Payment for Some Legislator Travel -

NASHVILLE – House Speaker Beth Harwell, who donates her own legislative expense payments to charity, has moved to curtail the expense money other state representatives collect for out-of-state traveling.

73. Complete Shelby Delegation Preps for Expanded Leadership -

When the Tennessee Legislature returns on Feb. 7 from its three-week recess, the 22-member Shelby County legislative delegation will be at full strength.

The newest member, District 98 Democrat Antonio Parkinson, won appointment by the Shelby County Commission to the seat he claimed in this month’s special Democratic primary election.

74. Luttrell Sets Priorities as Budget Season Approaches -

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell has been content in his first three months in office to leave a lot of the out-of-town traveling to Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.

75. Obama Promotes Auto Industry Success in Indiana -

KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) – President Barack Obama promoted the revival of the U.S. auto industry Tuesday, taking his pitch to the heart of the Rust Belt where a bruising economy has taken its toll on Democrats.

76. County Commission Spars Over PILOT Rules For Suburbs -

Shelby County Commissioners sparred over how much oversight is too much when it comes to awarding tax breaks for corporate and industrial moves to Shelby County and expansions of existing businesses.

77. Tenn. House Speaker Collapses at Session -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee House Speaker Kent Williams said his collapse during the session on Thursday was a result of low blood sugar.

78. Ford Wins Democratic Mayoral Primary -  

Interim County Mayor Joe Ford became the Democratic nominee for mayor in the August county general elections Tuesday night.

And the August sheriff’s race will be a contest between Democrat Randy Wade and Republican Randy Wade.

All three were among the winners in Tuesday’s low turnout county primaries.

Approximately ten percent of Shelby County’s nearly 600,000 voters cast ballots in early voting and election day polling.

Ford, who was appointed interim mayor in December, beat County Commissioner Deidre Malone and General Sessions Court Clerk Otis Jackson in the Democratic primary. He will face Republican Mark Luttrell who had only token opposition in the Republican primary from perennial contender Ernie Lunati.

Luttrell has raised more money than all three of the Democratic primary contenders combined and began running television ads in the last week runup to election day.

The final unofficial totals in the Democratic mayoral primary are:

Ford 20,360 57%

Malone 12,916 37%

Jackson 2,168 6%

The pair of primaries for Sheriff featured eight candidates, seven of whom either currently work for the sheriff’s department or are past employees. Only Reginald French, in the Democratic primary was not a former or current department official.

Wade was the 2002 Democratic nominee, losing to Luttrell who is leaving as Sheriff after serving two terms. French was the Democratic nominee in the 2006 elections.

Oldham is Luttrell’s chief deputy, the number two position in the department. He is also a former director of the Memphis Police Department.

The final unofficials totals in the Republican primary are:

Bill Oldham 13,821 48%

Dale Lane 7,981 28%

Bobby Simmons 5,886 21%

James Coleman 943 3%

In the Democratic primary:

Randy Wade 22,643 67%

Reginald French 6,777 20%

Larry Hill 2,738 8%

Bennie Cobb 1,814 5%

Voters in the primary elections decided to return six Shelby County commissioners to new four year terms with Tuesday’s results. They also elected six new commissioners. The winner of the thirteenth commission seat will be decided on the August general election ballot in a contest between district 5 Democratic incumbent Steve Mulroy and Republican challenger Dr. Rolando Toyos. The winner of the match up will determine whether the commission remains majority Democrat or goes majority Republican.

Mulroy easily defeated Jennings Bernard in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

Republican incumbent Mike Ritz ran unopposed as did new Democratic commissioner Walter Bailey.

In the remaining ten contests, the primaries decided who gets the seats since no one ran in the opposing party’s primary.

The most hotly contested contest among the commission races was for District 4 Position 1. Outgoing Probate Court Clerk Chris Thomas beat John Pellicciotti, appointed to a commission seat last year but running for a different position in the same district. Jim Bomprezzi, the former mayor of Lakeland, was the third contender in the contest.

The final unofficial totals in the Republican primary:

Thomas 7,631 52%

Pellicciotti 4,871 33%

Bomprezzi 2,298 15%

In position 2 of the same district incumbent Republican Wyatt Bunker easily overcame two challengers with former Lakeland alderman John Wilkerson finishing second and Ron Fittes finishing third.

Millington businessman Terry Roland claimed the third position in the district that takes in all six of Shelby County’s suburban towns and cities.

Roland beat George Chism to take the seat Pellicciotti was appointed to but opted not to run for in deference to Roland.

Heidi Shafer, an aide to outgoing County Commissioner George Flinn, claimed Flinn’s District 1 Position 2 seat over Albert Maduska.in the GOP primary.

District 1 incumbent Republican Mike Carpenter easily beat businessman Joe Baier.

In the Democratic commission primaries, Melvin Burgess claimed Malone’s District 2 Position 3 seat in a field of six contenders. His closest contender was Reginald Milton. Burgess, a city school system audit manager, had run for the seat before. He brought in 54 percent of the vote.

The other hard fought Democratic commission primary saw Justin Ford, son of the interim mayor, claim his father’s District 3 Position 3 seat.

Ford beat Edith Moore, a retired IBM executive, whom the commission appointed to the seat after the elder Ford became mayor.

The final unofficial vote totals are:

Ford 7,342 66%

Moore 3,822 34%

Democratic incumbent commissioners Henri Brooks, Sidney Chism and James Harvey were all re-elected over primary challengers.

The county-wide primaries for seven clerk’s positions saw the return of former Criminal Court Clerk Minerva Johnican 16 years after Republican challenger Bill Key took her job. Johnican decisively beat Ralph White and Vernon Johnson in her first bid for office since the 1994 defeat. She will face Republican Kevin Key, the son of Bill Key in the August general election.

The final unofficial vote totals are:

Johnican 16,381 51%

White 10,170 31%

Johnson 5,954 18%

Former Juvenile Court Clerk Shep Wilbun easily won the Democratic primary with 76 percent of the vote to face Republican Joy Touliatos in August for the office being vacated by Republican Steve Stamson. Touliatos was unopposed in the primary.

Democrat Coleman Thompson is back for another go at incumbent Republican Register Tom Leatherwood.

Aside from Leatherwood, Jimmy Moore is the only other of the seven clerks seeking re-election. Moore ran unopposed in the GOP primary. He will face Democrat Ricky Dixon in August.

Trustee Regina Newman was appointed to her office following the death last year of Paul Mattila. Newman easily overcame M LaTroy Williams in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. She will face David Lenoir, who beat former Shelby County Commissioner John Willingham in the Republican contest.

The final unofficial vote totals are:

Lenoir 15,922 58%

Willingham 11,569 42%

The other six candidate field on the ballot was in the Democratic primary for Probate Court Clerk. Sondra Becton posted impressive vote totals over her rivals, bringing in 35 percent of the vote with Peggy Dobbins her closest rival. Becton, who is making her fourth bid for the office, will face Republican Paul Boyd, who ran unopposed in his primary.

The final unofficial vote totals are:

Becton 10,929 36%

Dobbins 5,366 18%

Annita Hamilton 4,848 16%

Clay Perry 3,549 12%

Danny Kail 3,120 11%

Karen Tyler 2,782 9%

The closest contest of the evening was in the Democratic primary for County Clerk. Wrestling promoter and television personality Corey Maclin won his political debut by less than 1,400 votes over Charlotte Draper and LaKeith Miller. He will face Republican Wayne Mashburn who beat Steve Moore in the companion primary.

Early voting in advance of the Aug. 5 election day begins July 16. The August ballot will also feature state and federal primary elections including the statewide primaries for governor and the primaries for all nine of the state’s Congressional districts.

...

79. Seven Local Lawmakers Face No Opposition in Aug. -

Seven state legislators from Shelby County will begin new terms of office in January.

They had no opposition at Thursday’s filing deadline for the Aug. 5 state and federal primary elections.

They are District 33 Democratic state Sen. Reginald Tate, District 83 Republican state Rep. Mark White, District 90 Democratic state Rep. John DeBerry, District 92 Democratic state Rep. G.A. Hardaway, District 96 Republican state Rep. Steve McManus, District 97 Republican state Rep. Jim Coley and District 98 Democratic state Rep. Ulysses Jones.

80. Races Open For Two County School Board Seats -

The Aug. 5 elections will feature two races for open seats on the Shelby County school board.

At the noon Thursday filing deadline for the four odd-numbered district seats as well as the state and federal primaries, board member Anne Edmiston did not file for another four-year term. Board member Teresa Price had announced earlier that she would not be running either.

81. UPDATE: Two Open County School Board Seats At Filing Deadline -

The Aug. 5 elections will feature two races for open seats on the Shelby County school board.

At the noon Thursday filing deadline for the four odd-numbered district seats as well as the state and federal primaries, board member Anne Edmiston did not file for another four-year term. Board member Teresa Price had announced earlier that she would not be running either.

82. Filing Deadline Hits for August Primaries -

The stage is set for the county’s most anticipated political showdown in the Aug. 5 state and federal primary elections.

Noon today is the deadline for candidates in the primaries, as well as those vying for nonpartisan seats on the Shelby County school board and the three judicial positions, to file their qualifying petitions for the ballot.

83. Tennessee Intercity Bus Lines to Expand -

Tennesseans who live in rural areas and small towns are going to find it a lot easier to visit and work in the state’s big cities.

Vice President Joe Biden announced the state will receive $3.1 million in economic stimulus funds to expand its intercity bus routes.

84. Metro Backers, Foes Seek Advice From Jacksonville -

Nobody is ready to draft any metro charter language just yet.

But the consolidation debate and discussion among the 15 members of the Metro Charter Commission warmed considerably this month with a visit to Memphis by the general counsel for the city of Jacksonville, Fla.

85. GOP's Ramsey Says He's Unsure of Obama Citizenship -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - State Senate speaker and gubernatorial candidate Ron Ramsey said Tuesday he doesn't know whether President Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen, but that it's not an issue that voters care about.

86. MED Funding a State Issue, Leaders Say -

The issue of double taxation reared its head this week as a plan to provide $12 million in local emergency funding for the Regional Medical Center at Memphis scored $10 million.

The county funding cleared the Shelby County Commission on a 9-3 vote after lots of debate Monday.

87. Once-Embattled Wilbun to Run for Juvenile Court Clerk -

The invitations urged political supporters to “Return Shep Wilbun” to the Memphis-Shelby County Juvenile Court Clerk’s office.

At a club on South Main Street this month as FedExForum began to fill up a few blocks away, Wilbun hosted an evening fundraiser at $100 a head. It drew State Reps. Ulysses Jones, Larry Miller and Joe Towns as well as Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy.

88. Commission to Revisit Charter Appointments Today -

Approving mayoral appointments to boards and commissions is usually the quickest part of the Shelby County Commission’s agenda. It’s normally a routine vote.

That won’t be the case today.

The commission will meet this afternoon starting at 1:30 p.m. at the County Administration Building Downtown. A full agenda for the meeting is available at The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com.

89. Metro Charter Appointments Win Recommendation -

Shelby County Commissioners Wednesday recommended all 10 of County Mayor A C Wharton’s appointees to a metro charter commission.

The commission, which will include five people appointed by the Memphis mayor and confirmed by the City Council, will draft a charter proposal to consolidate Memphis and Shelby County governments.

90. Tenn. Saggy Pants Proposal Likely Dead -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Legislation that would fine Tennesseans for sagging their pants has likely failed this session.

The House Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday that the measure sponsored by Democratic Rep. Joe Towns of Memphis be sent to a summer committee for further study.

91. House Panel Defers Tenn. Charter Schools Proposal -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A proposal that would make more students eligible for charter schools was deferred Wednesday by a House panel after two failed amendments to further expand eligibility.

92. Tenn. Proposes: Pull Up Your Pants or Pay a Fine -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee is trying to become the first state to prod teenagers to pull up their britches by kicking them in their wallets.

It's not the first to try to outlaw the saggy pants style, a national fad worn mostly by young men that offends many because the legwear is drooped enough to expose the underwear (or worse). Even President Barack Obama has said it's a fashion don't.

93. Stimulus Money Skips Needy Areas -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Counties suffering the most from job losses stand to receive the least help from President Barack Obama’s plan to spend billions of stimulus dollars on roads and bridges, an Associated Press analysis has found.

94. Pyramid Funding Details Shift to Legal Front -

Now the attorneys begin drafting a contract.

This week, the Memphis City Council signed off on a three-part deal that gives the city of Memphis complete ownership of The Pyramid and continues city funding of the Shelby County Health Department for one more fiscal year.

95. Bill Seeks to Criminalize Saggy Pants -

NASHVILLE (AP) – A Democratic lawmaker says legislation that would fine individuals for letting their pants sag is unconstitutional and plans to ask for a state attorney general opinion.

The measure sponsored by state Rep. Joe Towns, a Memphis Democrat, passed the House Criminal Practice and Procedure Subcommittee Wednesday.

96. States Cut Spending, Put Projects on Hold -

With the economy in a slide and the credit markets seized up, states are slashing budgets, eliminating jobs, putting major construction projects on hold and nervously waiting to see whether their shriveled pension funds recover.

97. Cohen, Blackburn Lead Local Election Winners -

More than half and possibly as much as 75 percent of Shelby County’s nearly 626,000 voters are expected to turn out for the Nov. 4 election that will be highlighted by the John McCain-Barack Obama battle for the White House.

98. Citigroup Returning Billions to Investors -

WASHINGTON (AP) - Citigroup Inc. will buy back more than $7 billion in auction-rate securities and pay $100 million in fines as part of settlements with federal and state regulators, who said the bank marketed the investments as safe despite liquidity risks.

99. Cohen Crushes Tinker - Jackson Upsets Turner - Charter Changes Pass-Fail - Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen was the big winner in Thursday’s primary elections. Cohen, with 80 percent of the vote, crushed challenger Nikki Tinker in the hard fought 9th District Democratic primary.

The upset of the evening was the general election contest for General Sessions Court Clerk where Democratic challenger Otis Jackson beat Republican incumbent Chris Turner.

And only one of two sets of Shelby County charter amendments on the ballot were approved by voters.

Voter turnout was just under 16 percent in Shelby County. Voter turnout was clearly driven by the 9th District Democratic primary. More people voted in that primary which covers most but not all of Shelby County than voted countywide in the state Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate. Turnout in the Democratic primaries was twice that of the Republican primaries in Shelby County.

All results are unofficial pending audit and certification by the Shelby County Election Commission and Tennessee election officials

9th Congressional District
Democratic Primary
Steve Cohen 50,284 79%
Nikki Tinker 11,814 19%
Joe Towns Jr. 914 1%

Not even close. Cohen won the primary for the open all Shelby County seat two years ago by 4,400 votes over Tinker and 13 other candidates. This time around he was the incumbent and Tinker’s challenge was more strident with a pair of controversial attack ads in the gap between the end of early voting and election day. Both were probably factors in the vote totals along with a smaller field of five candidates.

Cohen faces independent candidate Jake Ford in the Nov. 4 general election.

7th Congressional District
Republican Primary
248 of 265 precincts reporting
Marsha Blackburn 29,158 65%
Tom Leatherwood 15,636 35%

These are the results district wide which includes not only the eastern part of Shelby County but a strip of Middle Tennessee up to the Kentucky state line. In Shelby County’s part of the 7th district, Leatherwood beat Blackburn with 62 percent of the vote. But it was 62 percent of just over 19,000 votes. Outside Shelby County it was always going to be difficult for Leatherwood.. The low voter turnout in Collierville and other eastern parts of the county made Leatherwood’s task impossible.

Blackburn faces Democrat Randy G. Morris on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Shelby County Charter Amendment #360
Yes  49,506   49.73%

No   50,043   50,27%

Closest contest of the night in Shelby County with a 537 vote margin and the highest turnout with 99,549 votes total.

This set of charter changes was to fix a legal problem noted in a recent Tennessee Supreme Court ruling. Another part of the package deal was increasing term limits for the county mayor and the county commission from two consecutive four year terms approved by voters in 1994 to three consecutive four year terms. The County Commission meets Monday to ponder whether it should offer another charter amendment on the Nov. 4 ballot that would fix the legal problem.

Shelby County Charter Amendment #361
Yes 65,548 68%
No 30,188 32%

This set of charter amendment includes provisions for recalling elected officials. It also establishes a new method for filling a vacancy in the office of County Mayor.

General Sessions Court Clerk
Otis Jackson 51,438 52%
Chris Turner 43,971 45%

The upset of the evening. Turner, the Republican nominee and the incumbent was seeking a fourth term. Jackson, the Democratic nominee, was making his fourth bid for county-wide office after coming close in a 2006 bid for County Clerk.

Trustee
Paul Mattila 54,734 57%
Ray Butler 29,977 31%

Mattila beats Butler in a race featuring an energetic and misleading campaign by M. LaTroy Williams in which Williams billed himself as the “real Democrat.” He was, in fact, an independent candidate garnering 8 percent of the vote. Mattila fills the remaining two years left in the term of office of the late Bob Patterson, a Republican. Mattila, a Democrat, worked with Patterson. Butler, the Republican, was also a friend of Patterson’s and the race amounted to who would best continue to operate the office as Patterson did.

Criminal Court Judge Div. 6
John Fowlkes 44,581 52%
Latonya Burrow 21,874 26%
Michael G. Floyd 12,071 14%
Claiborne H. Ferguson 6,240 7%

Fowlkes serves out the remaining six years left of the eight year term of office of Fred Axley who resigned from the bench shortly after winning re-election in 2006. Burrow finished a close second to Axley two years ago and again ran an energetic campaign this time around. But Fowlkes status in the legal community and his appointment to the bench by Gov. Phil Bredesen proved to be the advantage.

Assessor of Property
Cheyenne Johnson 59,637 60%
Bill Giannini 39,057 40%

Johnson, the Democratic nominee, easily beat Giannini, who is also doubling as local GOP chairman. Local Democrats keep the county-wide position in their column as voters go for the candidate endorsed by outgoing Democratic incumbent Rita Clark.

U.S. Senate
Democratic Primary
2,192 of 2,290 precincts reporting
Bob Tuke 54,613 32%
Gary G. Davis 37,193 22%
Mike Padgett 32,190 19%
Mark Clayton 30,359 18%
Kenneth Eaton 13,718 8%
Leonard Ladner 4,431 3%

These are the statewide results. Tuke got 42 percent of the Shelby County vote with Clayton finishing second. Tuke, the former state Democratic Party chairman, faces Republican incumbent Lamar Alexander, one of the most successful politicians in the history of the state, in the Nov. 4 general election.

Judicial Retention Races

All seven state appellate court judges, including two Tennessee Supreme Court justices, won their yes/no contests on the ballot across the state. That includes Tennessee Criminal Appeals Court Judge Camille McMullen of Millington who was just appointed to the bench in June by Gov. Phil Bredesen.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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100. Cohen Corrects Quote Brought up in Debate -

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen is correcting a quote from an election night 12 years ago attributed to him in last week’s televised congressional debate.

During the debate between Cohen and Democratic primary challengers Nikki Tinker and Joe Towns, Towns brought up the moment when Cohen expressed his frustration over the lack of black support for his successful bid for re-election to the state senate.