VOL. 126 | NO. 170 | Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Candidates Prep for Annual HobNob Event
By Bill Dries
It began its run at the old Libertyland theme park at the Mid-South Fairgrounds in the 1990s as such traditional picnic political forums as the old St. Peter’s picnic in Midtown were winding down.
Libertyland is now gone too, but the Greater Memphis Chamber gathering “HobNob In The Park” continues its run Sept. 7 in the courtyard at AutoZone Park at Third Street and Union Avenue, from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The mixer is a chance for chamber members and prospective members to play ball, in a manner of speaking, with elected officials and candidates.
In this case, the political crowd at the event is likely to be heavy with contenders in the Oct. 6 city of Memphis elections. The ballot includes races for mayor, all 13 seats on the City Council, three city court judge positions and the city court clerk.
And HobNob is the week before early voting opens on Sept. 16.
The event traditionally does not include stump speeches by the candidates. Instead the candidates engage in hand-to-hand campaigning that has become a tradition at some events.
State Rep. Ron Lollar, R-Bartlett, and former state Rep. Bubba Pleasant used the same strategy at their annual picnic earlier this summer at Pleasant’s family farm called Pleasantville. The guests included all four mayoral candidates in the Sept. 15 mayor’s race in Arlington as well as Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and state House Speaker Beth Harwell.
But the mayoral contenders were banned from passing out flyers and instead worked the crowd with the help of a campaign T-shirt here and there and maybe a sticker or two.
Lollar made no apologies as he did quick intros of more than a dozen political office holders and office seekers before urging those in the crowd to talk with them one on one.
Early voting in advance of the Sept. 15 municipal elections in both Arlington and Lakeland has been under way since Friday, Aug. 26 only at Shelby County Election Commission headquarters Downtown at 157 Poplar Ave. through Sept. 10.
There will be one day of early voting at one location each in Arlington and Lakeland on Sept. 10 – Arlington United Methodist Church and First Baptist Church of Lakeland.
Candidates in both towns are expected to focus much of their effort on the one day of voting in the towns.
The two elections involve 11,603 voters in three precincts, two in Lakeland and one in Arlington. Through Saturday, a total of four people had voted early or absentee – two in Arlington and two in Lakeland. Two of the four votes came on the first day of early voting. The other two were absentee votes cast before that.