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VOL. 123 | NO. 173 | Thursday, September 4, 2008

Gatewood Stays On School Board Ballot

By Bill Dries

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Memphis City Schools board member Stephanie Gatewood kept her place on the Nov. 4 ballot, and her only potential challenger lost a last-minute attempt Tuesday to get on the ballot.

Also, the Shelby County Election Commission wants to hear from one of the four candidates in the special City Council race on the same ballot.

The developments come as election officials prepare to lay out and print ballots in time to mail them to absentee voters.

Election commissioners ruled Tuesday that Gatewood would remain on the ballot for re-election to the District 1 school board seat she currently holds.

Gatewood had reported a $45 campaign contribution from 2007 to her City Council campaign account. But she didn’t include it on a campaign finance report. She wasn’t required to report the contribution because it was less than $100. But since she did and she didn’t file an updated campaign finance report, the Election Commission disqualified her.

But state election coordinator Brook Thompson said the commission could only disqualify Gatewood if she had an outstanding fine as a result. Gatewood hasn’t been fined.

Gatewood had been the only candidate in the race after Rudolph Daniels failed to get enough signatures on his qualifying petition. Daniels showed up Tuesday to try to reverse the commission’s position that some of the signatures were invalid because the citizens printed their names instead of using their signatures, as they did on voter registration forms.

The commission backed the staff’s decision to rule that Daniels was disqualified.

Gatewood is the fourth of five school board incumbents on the Nov. 4 ballot who are running unopposed.

Meanwhile, Election Commissioner Robert Meyers questioned the residency of City Council candidate Paul Shaffer. Shaffer is running for the Super District 9 Position 1 seat vacated by the resignation of Scott McCormick.

Shaffer is one of four candidates on the November ballot for the seat. Shaffer told The Daily News that at last month’s filing deadline he was in the process of changing his address from the Whitehaven address where he had lived to a Midtown address where he and his wife moved recently to care for his mother-in-law.

Meyers initially sought to remove Shaffer’s name from the ballot but he was the only one of the five commissioners to vote for it.

The Election Commission is scheduled to hear from Shaffer on Friday afternoon at a special meeting. Historically, the commission has hesitated to question a candidate’s residency citing legal limits to its role. Challenges to residency usually wind up as court challenges decided by judges.

PROPERTY SALES 120 120 16,027
MORTGAGES 64 64 9,986
BUILDING PERMITS 203 206 38,142
BANKRUPTCIES 21 28 7,500