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VOL. 125 | NO. 75 | Monday, April 19, 2010



Clerk Races Generate Plenty of Heat

By Bill Dries

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Seven clerks' positions are on the May 4 primary ballot and incumbents are running for re-election in three of them.

None of the seven elections will be decided with the primaries because Democrats and Republicans are battling hard in the countywide races dominated just four years ago by the GOP.

Although Republicans held on to the offices, in four of the 2006 general elections contests Democratic challengers got within 1,000 votes of an upset.

The race for Probate Court clerk has attracted a lot of attention with a six-person Democratic field. So has the coming general election skirmish in August for Criminal Court clerk.

The other races are for:

Juvenile Court Clerk

The clerk keeps court records and collects child support and other court ordered payments.

Joy Touliatos, the office’s chief administrative officer, is unopposed in the GOP primary for the job Republican Steve Stamson is giving up.

The Democratic primary is a three-way contest in which former clerk Shep Wilbun has the best name recognition.

Wilbun won appointment in 2000, but a federal grand jury investigation as well as a state grand jury indictment with charges later dismissed led to Wilbun’s defeat in 2002 by Stamson. Wilbun made a bid for a return in 2006 and lost again.

Sylvester Bradley Jr. and Charles R. Marshall are the other Democratic contenders.

County Clerk

This office issues vehicle license tags and renewals. It also issues business licenses and collects liquor-by-the-drink taxes.

Republican incumbent Debbie Stamson, wife of Steve Stamson, also is not seeking re-election.

Corey Maclin, a political newcomer familiar to Memphians as a wrestling promoter and broadcaster, leads the Democratic field.

His rivals in the May primary are Charlotte Draper and LaKeith Miller.

The Republican contenders are Wayne Mashburn and Steve Moore.

County Register

The office records deeds and other official documents.

Republican incumbent Tom Leatherwood is seeking re-election and is unopposed.

Circuit Court Clerk

The clerk maintains civil court records and schedules.

Republican Jimmy Moore is seeking re-election and is unopposed in the May primary. He will meet one of three Democrats in August.

Steven Webster, a Realtor and former assistant superintendent for the state department of mental health, as well as longtime Democratic political operative Ricky Dixon, are the two most visible contenders.

The third candidate is Carmichael Johnson.

County Trustee

The trustee is considered the banker of Shelby County government.

The office has seen a lot of change since the 2006 re-election of Republican Bob Patterson. Patterson died in 2008.

After that, the County Commission appointed Paul Mattila, a Democrat and top assistant to Patterson, as his replacement.

Mattila later won a special election for the rest of Patterson’s four-year term, but died in November.

The commission then appointed attorney Regina Morrison Newman, a Democrat, to the office.

Newman is seeking a full four-year term.

Her opposition in the Democratic primary is M. LaTroy Williams.

The two Republican contenders are John Willingham and David Lenoir.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 56 9,658
MORTGAGES 0 49 10,665
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 12 1,301
BUILDING PERMITS 0 548 21,505
BANKRUPTCIES 0 256 6,219
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 64 4,003
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 60 2,952
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 52 2,073