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VOL. 126 | NO. 196 | Friday, October 7, 2011

Wharton, Fullilove & Conrad Re-Elected -- Harris-Ford to Runoff

By Bill Dries

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Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. won a full four-year term of office as mayor Thursday, Oct. 6, two years after he claimed the mayor’s office in a special election.

And all 12 of the Memphis City Council members seeking re-election won new four year terms in the city election cycle, marking the largest return of incumbents to the 13-member council in the 43-year history of the mayor-council form of government.

The 13th council race with no incumbent in council District 7 will be decided by a Nov. 10 runoff between Kemba Ford and Lee Harris.

Harris and Ford finished, in that order, with four votes separating them. They were at the top of a field of 14 contenders for the council seat now held by interim council member Berlin Boyd and before him Barbara Swearengen Ware.

The District 7 field was the largest on the ballot and the contest was the closest of election night with final unofficial results showing Harris and Ford each with 24 percent of the vote.

It takes a majority of the votes – 50 percent plus one – to claim a council district seat without a runoff.

Runoffs in all other city elections were declared unconstitutional in a 1991 federal court ruling.

With all 29 precincts reporting the unofficial results are:

Harris 1,983 or 24.1%

Ford 1,979 or 24%

Coby Smith 957 or 11.6%

Michael Steven Moore 562 or 6.8%

Erskine Gillespie 493 of 6%

Jesse Jeff 367 or 4.4%

Scott Banbury 358 or 4.3%

David Vinciarelli 351 or 4.2%

Raymond Bursi 284 or 3.4%

Darrell Wright 215 or 2.6%

Julie Ray 211 or 2.5%

Evelyn Fields 197 or 2.3%

LeAndrea Taylor 137 or 1.6%

Artie Smith 101 or 0.4%

Wharton’s victory over nine challengers led by former Memphis City Council member Edmund Ford Sr., Kemba Ford’s uncle and the father of returning incumbent District 6 council member Edmund Ford Jr., was never in doubt from the counting of the early votes.

Wharton brought in 65 percent of the vote, short of the record 74 percent vote total his successor Willie Herenton got in his 1995 re-election effort. The 1995 percentage was a record for the mayor-council form of government.

With all 178 precincts reporting the unofficial results are:

Wharton 48,635 or 65.3%

Ford 20,907 or 28%

James Harvey 2,053 or 2.7%

Kenneth Robinson 774 or 1%

Robert ‘Prince Mongo’ Hodges 750 or 1%

Marty Merriweather 441 or 0.5%

James Barbee 310 or 0.42%

Carlos Boyland 169 or 0.2%

Write In Votes 160 or 0.2%

Leo Awgowhat 141 or 0.1%

DeWayne Jones 79 or 0.1%

Wharton’s victory over Ford was one of two blows to efforts by municipal unions to show their dissatisfaction over a 4.6 percent pay cut for city workers in the city budget season earlier this year.

The other was incumbent council member Kemp Conrad’s decisive victory over challenger Paul Shaffer in Super District 9, a rematch of their 2008 special election contest. This time Shaffer, who is leader of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers local 474, had better financial backing. But Conrad won by slightly less than the 10,000 vote margin he had in 2008.

With all 93 precints reporting the unofficial vote totals are:

Conrad 19,919 or 64%

Shaffer 11,313 or 36%

Wharton’s attempt to influence several council races with a ballot did not include the Conrad-Shaffer match up. But he did back challenger Rosalyn Nichols over Super District 8 incumbent Janis Fullilove.

Wharton had also endorsed Harris in the District 7 contest.

Fullilove won with just under 60 percent of the vote in the four candidate race to 27 percent for Nichols.

With all 93 precincts reporting the unofficial vote totals are:

Fullilove 21,701 or 57.8%

Nichols 9,954 or 26.5%

Isaac Wright 2,978 or 7.9%

Mario Dennis 2,836 or 0.1%

City Court Clerk Thomas Long was set to reach the 20-year mark in the clerk’s office with a victory over two challengers with 65 percent of the vote.

Long 40,644 or 65%

Betty Boyette 13,430 or 21.5%

Antonio Harris 8,071 or 13%

In other races, Super District 9 council member Shea Flinn posted the largest percentage win of any incumbent facing opposition on the October ballot. Flinn went one on one with challenger James Sdoia.

With all 88 precincts reporting the unofficial results are:

Flinn 24,210 or 80.7%

Sdoia 5,668 or 18.9%

District 1 council member Bill Morrison beat challenger Kendrick Sneed.

With all 24 precincts reporting the unofficial results are:

Morrison 4,905 or 64.8%

Sneed 2,637 or 34.8%

District 2 incumbent Bill Boyd defeated challenger Sylvia Cox.

With all 25 precincts reporting the unofficial results are:

Boyd 7,170 or 74.7%

Cox 2,391 or 24.9%

District 4 incumbent Wanda Halbert had no trouble with three challengers.

With all 25 precincts reporting the unofficial results are:

Halbert 6,243 or 64.8%

Michelle Smith 1,897 or 19.7%

Louis Morganfield 767 or 7.9%

George Walker 692 or 7.1%

District 6 incumbent Edmund Ford Jr. was re-elected.

With all 26 precincts reporting the unofficial results are:

Ford 8,606 or 63.8%

Sharon Webb 2,070 or 15.3%

Clara Ford 1,658 or 12.3%

Rhoda Stigall 1,123 or 8.3%

Super District 9 Position 1 council member Joe Brown routed two challengers.

With all 93 precincts reporting the unofficial results are:

Brown 27,571 or 77%

Mark Coleman 4,358 or 12%

Tammy Warren 3,743 or 10.4%

Four council members – Jim Strickland, Reid Hedgepeth, Harold Collins and Myron Lowery -- ran unopposed as did all three City Court Judges – Earnestine Hunt Dorse, Tarik Sugarmon and Jayne Chandler.

The results become official when they are certified by the Shelby County Election Commission following an audit.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 20 39 190
BUILDING PERMITS 0 305 3,056
BANKRUPTCIES 17 135 753
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 53 329
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0