VOL. 126 | NO. 141 | Thursday, July 21, 2011
Last-Minute Filers Make Election Deadline
By Bill Dries
A flurry of last-minute filings came at the noon Thursday, July 21, deadline for candidates in the Oct. 6 Memphis elections to turn in their qualifying petitions.
Shelby County Election Commission staffers were still checking the signatures on the petitions filed Thursday to make sure those signing were voters and lived in the districts they signed for or the city in the case of the citywide races.
Among the last-minute filers was Michael Steven Moore for the District 7 council seat. The only open seat on the council appeared to have 14 contenders at the deadline. Moore is the son of Barbara Swearengen Ware who resigned in June after being on suspension since last year because of an official misconduct charge.
Filing even later than Moore was Leandrea Taylor in the same council race as well as Scott Banbury.
All 12 incumbent council members had filed for re-election, representing the largest bid for re-election by incumbents in the 43-year history of the mayor-council form of government.
Andrew Rome Withers filed for super council District 8 position 3 in a challenge to council chairman Myron Lowery.
Minutes before the deadline, mayoral contender Leo Awgowhat was looking for a final signature to qualify for the office he sought in the 2009 special election.
Another contender arrived just minutes after the deadline and found the doors to the commission offices closed. Asked what he was filing for, he said, “It doesn’t matter now.”
There were a few holes in the list of candidates posted on the Election Commission web site even into Thursday afternoon.
Council member Harold Collins was not listed among the candidates who had filed, although he assured a reporter he is seeking re-election and that he had clarified that with election officials.
The list of mayoral contenders also did not include Shelby County Commissioner James Harvey, who filed Tuesday.
With that caveat, it appeared three council incumbents had effectively won re-election to new four year terms in January because they had no opposition. Those council members are Collins, Reid Hedgepeth and Jim Strickland. All three city court judges, Tarik Sugarmon, Earnestine Hunt Dorse and Jayne Chandler appeared to also be running with no opposition.
Watch this story for possible changes as the list of candidates is verified.
All of the contenders have until noon Thursday, July 28, to withdraw if they wish.