VOL. 124 | NO. 151 | Tuesday, August 4, 2009
UPDATE: Oct. 15 New Special Election Date
By Bill Dries
The race for the rest of Willie Herenton’s term of office as mayor was already going to be a sprint. Today the campaign got 12 days shorter.
The Shelby County Election Commission has set Oct. 15 as the special election date. The date was moved up from Oct. 27 to coincide with a special set of primary elections Gov. Phil Bredesen is expected to order to fill the District 31 State Senate seat.
Paul Stanley, a Germantown Republican, gave up the seat effective August 10 after acknowledging an affair with a legislative intern that turned into an alleged extortion attempt by the boyfriend of the intern. The affair and alleged extortion attempt happened in April but went public in July with criminal charges being filed in Nashville against the boyfriend.
Shelby County school board chairman David Pickler and State Representatives Steve McManus and Brian Kelsey have expressed an interest in the GOP nomination.
Bredesen hasn’t yet formally set the date for the election in the Senate district which covers Cordova as well as parts of suburban Shelby County. But Election Commission chairman Bill Giannini told The Daily News he is confident it will be Oct. 15.
The election date would have been moved anyway, he said, because of new legal opinions taking into account state law and Memphis charter provisions.
“We are working on multiple fronts to coordinate that with them and believe that will happen,” Giannini said. “What we’ve done is hand them the most practical date and the only Thursday that satisfies all of the applicable statutes for both elections.”
Having the two elections on the same date changes which government pays the estimated $160,000 tab for opening up the polls. The state of Tennessee pays for the cost of the special election because of the Senate contest.
The change in election date also moves up the deadline for candidates in the race for mayor to file their qualifying petitions. That is noon Sept. 3. And the new deadline for any candidates to withdraw is noon Sept. 10. Giannini was still checking state law to see if the same deadlines applied to candidates in the state Senate primaries.
While some political contenders are still mulling over a decision on joining what could be a large pack of candidates for mayor, others are already campaigning.
As the Election Commission met Tuesday, Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton Jr. was campaigning for Memphis mayor making stops at National Night Out gatherings across the city.
Attorney Charles Carpenter will open his Whitehaven campaign headquarters Saturday.
Earlier this week, City Council member Wanda Halbert announced she is running.