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VOL. 125 | NO. 150 | Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Candidates Feel The Heat As Election Nears

By Bill Dries

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Here comes the blitz.

The last full day of campaigning before the Thursday election will be a dash through triple-digit temperatures for all of the contenders on the county ballot.

Two of the three contenders in the Republican primary for governor, U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp of Chattanooga and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, will be in Memphis.

Haslam stops at an East Memphis doughnut shop Wednesday.

Wamp campaigns with bluegrass musician Ricky Skaggs on the election eve for what’s billed as an “ice cream social” at the Al Chymia Shrine Temple. Wamp will begin Thursday by greeting voters at a Bartlett precinct.

Shelby County voters have seen a lot this campaign season of Wamp and Haslam as well as Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey.

On the heaviest day of early voting Friday, Haslam and Ramsey made stops outside Agricenter International’s early voting site for some campaigning.

Democratic contender Mike McWherter will be Downtown Wednesday evening for a Democratic rally. It amounts to a kickoff of his general election campaign because McWherter is unopposed in Thursday’s statewide primary.

The 9th District Congressman Steve Cohen and Democratic nominee for Sheriff Randy Wade campaigned Monday evening in Whitehaven.

Meanwhile, Cohen’s challenger in Thursday’s Democratic primary, former Mayor Willie Herenton, told reporters he is confident of a 3-to-1 margin of victory, despite polls showing the opposite result.

Asked if he had poll results to back up the claim, Herenton told of paying $50,000 for a poll in a past mayoral race that was wrong.

He also dismissed most media interpretations of the early vote. Herenton is claiming the key demographic in the early vote statistics is voters who are classified as “other” instead of black or white. “Other” indicates a voter who is either of another or mixed race or a voter who didn’t indicate his or her race on voter registration forms. Herenton says most of the “other” voters in the 9th district are black and are therefore most likely to vote for him.

“I hate to put this all in racial terms and party terms, but that’s what politics is all about in this town,” Herenton said. “It’s been about race and party. I didn’t create this.”

Cohen has acknowledged some internal polls that show him beating Herenton. But he’s declined to release the results and has also warned about relying too much on polls.

Herenton said he is already suspicious of how the votes will be counted Thursday when the polls close.

Herenton’s campaign was active over the weekend putting up newer, large, red plywood signs at key intersections around town.

PROPERTY SALES 56 289 2,908
MORTGAGES 55 226 2,009
BUILDING PERMITS 108 1,002 6,703
BANKRUPTCIES 42 248 1,225