VOL. 125 | NO. 63 | Thursday, April 1, 2010
Filing Deadline Hits for August Primaries
By Bill Dries
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.
The winners of the May 4 county primaries will join those candidates on the August ballot.
Democrat Steve Cohen, the incumbent in the 9th Congressional District, filed his qualifying petition at the Shelby County Election Commission Wednesday.
Days earlier, former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton filed in the same primary setting the stage for the primary contest expected to generate the most interest on the Aug. 5 ballot.
A field of three Republicans was also forming in the companion GOP congressional primary and three independent candidates had filed as of Tuesday evening.
There will be updates at The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com, this afternoon once the deadline has passed. Updates also can be found at www.twitter.com/memphisdaily.
All candidates who qualify by today’s deadline have one week to withdraw from the race if they wish. The Shelby County Election Commission will then certify the field of candidates for the ballot.
Meanwhile, 7th District Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn is seeking re-election in a district that takes in East Shelby County as it goes north to take in Nashville’s suburbs and communities at the Kentucky state line including Clarksville.
Blackburn was in Germantown Tuesday for a town hall meeting that drew a crowd of more than 160 citizens.
Two years ago, Blackburn faced a primary challenge from Shelby County Register Tom Leatherwood of Arlington. Leatherwood carried Shelby County but Blackburn still won easily.
This time, Leatherwood is running for re-election as register.
Citizens opposed to the recently passed health care reform act and concerned about “big government” under the Obama administration dominated Blackburn’s audience at the Germantown Great Hall.
“They’re more engaged. They’re more informed and they’re more active,” Blackburn told The Daily News. “People are very unhappy with what is being done in Washington.”
She has been an outspoken opponent of the health care reform bill from its earliest incarnation. And Blackburn cautioned that an immigration reform bill may be the next proposal from the White House to come to Congress before the mid-term elections.
“I think that you’re going to see a much more conservative Congress and it will be more of a checks and balances system in Washington than it was for the past couple of years,” she said later. “I think it’s going to be a Republican majority. The American people really do like split government.”
In the 8th Congressional District, which includes northern parts of Shelby County, Democratic incumbent John Tanner is not seeking re-election. Contenders for the seat include outgoing Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn who is running in the GOP primary and state Sen. Roy Herron of Dresden in the Democratic primary.
Primaries for three of the seven state Senate seats covering Shelby County are also on the ballot as well as all 16 state house seats covering Shelby County.
Incumbent Sens. Ophelia Ford, Brian Kelsey and Reginald Tate have all filed for re-election. Kelsey is running for a full four-year term just months after winning the District 31 seat in a special election.
All 16 house incumbents are seeking re-election. Seven had no opposition as of Tuesday evening: Democrats Joe Towns, Larry Miller, John DeBerry, Lois DeBerry and Ulysses Jones, and Republicans Steve McManus and Jim Coley.
The races for three other legislative seats were poised to be decided with the August primaries since there was no opposition as of Tuesday for the incumbents, outside of their party primaries.
Those districts are:
- District 85 represented by Democrat Johnnie Turner who was appointed to the seat by the County Commission earlier this year following the death of her husband, Larry Turner
- District 87 represented by Democrat Karen Camper
- District 92 represented by Democrat G.A. Hardaway
- And District 99 represented by Republican Ron Lollar.
The Aug. 5 ballot will also feature three special nonpartisan elections for three recently filled judicial vacancies – two in Circuit Court filled by Lorrie K. Ridder and Rhynette Northcross Hurd and the third in General Sessions Criminal Court by Lee Wilson.
Each of the appointees is seeking election and each had opposition as of Tuesday evening.
The winners of those August elections will serve through the 2014 elections.
Four of the seven seats on the Shelby County school board are also on the ballot in non- partisan elections.
Three of the four incumbents in the odd numbered district seats – Anne Edmiston, David Pickler and Ernest Chism – are seeking re-election.
Two candidates, Snowden Carruthers and Charlene White, had filed for the District 1 seat. Incumbent Teresa Price is not seeking re-election.
Also on the ballot are 24 positions on the Democratic and Republican state executive committees. The contests will be decided by voters in the primaries with the seats divided along legislative district lines.