VOL. 123 | NO. 67 | Friday, April 4, 2008
Primaries Heat Up as Filing Deadline Passes
By Bill Dries
The race for the Memphis 9th Congressional District seat will have no Republican contenders.
At Thursday’s deadline for candidates to file in the Aug. 7 state and Congressional primaries, no Republicans had filed for the GOP primary.
Incumbent Steve Cohen will face four challengers in the Democratic primary as he runs for a second two-year term. His challengers include attorney Nikki Tinker, who finished second to Cohen in the hard-fought 2006 primary. The other contenders are James Gregory, M. Latroy Williams and Isaac Richmond, a perennial independent candidate for the Congressional seat when it was held by Harold Ford Sr.
The seat has been held by a Democrat since Ford’s victory over Republican incumbent Dan Kuykendall in 1974.
Ford’s son Jake has filed to run as an independent and automatically advances to the November general election ballot.
State Rep. Joe Towns filed a petition to run in the Democratic primary as well, but came up short of the required 25 signatures of registered voters who live in the district.
Instead, Towns was one of 11 state legislators from Shelby County who had no challengers in re-election bids at the deadline.
All three state senators from Shelby County on the ballot, Democrats Jim Kyle and Beverly Marrero as well as Republican Mark Norris, effectively won re-election Thursday because they had no opposition.
The seven other state representatives who are running unopposed are: District 83 Republican Brian Kelsey, District 88 Democrat Larry Miller, District 89 Democrat Jeanne Richardson, District 90 Democrat John DeBerry, District 96 Republican Steve McManus, District 97 Republican Jim Coley and District 99 Republican Ron Lollar.
The candidates who made Thursday’s deadline now have until noon April 10 to withdraw from the races if they wish.
At Thursday’s deadline, two more candidates joined John T. Fowlkes Jr. and Michael G. Floyd in the non-partisan race for Criminal Court Division 6 judge. Fowlkes was appointed by Gov. Phil Bredesen to the vacant division earlier this year following the abrupt resignation of veteran Judge Fred Axley. At the deadline, attorneys Latonya S. Burrow and Claiborne Ferguson joined the field.
The general election race for County School Board District 2, which covers Bartlett and parts of Arlington, had no contenders until this past weekend. Lollar is giving up the seat. At Thursday’s deadline, it became the busiest race on the August ballot with five candidates qualifying.
Election Commission workers were still checking signatures and the qualifications of some candidates late this afternoon. It is normal for some would-be candidates to gather just enough signatures only to have a critical few disqualified because those who signed either don’t live in the district or aren’t registered to vote or both.
Candidates in the 7th and 8th Congressional Districts could file their petitions in Nashville because the districts include areas outside of Shelby County.
The incomplete list kept by the local Election Commission shows 7th District Republican incumbent Marsha Blackburn will have opposition in the August primary from Shelby County Register Tom Leatherwood. Jay Sparks of Lakeland and James Tomasik of Memphis had filed to run in the 7th District Democratic primary. No candidates for the 8th Congressional District seat had filed in Shelby County. Incumbent Democrat John Tanner of Union City is expected to seek re-election.