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VOL. 127 | NO. 31 | Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Primary Battle Starts Locally With Early Voting

By Bill Dries

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Early voting in the Tennessee presidential primary begins Wednesday, Feb. 15, but the Republican presidential contenders have Arizona and Michigan on their minds.

The early voting period in advance of the March 6 Election Day also includes a set of Shelby County primaries for General Sessions Court clerk, Shelby County district attorney general, property assessor and one Shelby County Commission seat. The winners in those primaries advance to the August county general election ballot.

The Arizona and Michigan primaries are Feb. 28, with Tennessee one of several Super Tuesday states holding primaries March 6.

The GOP presidential contenders are battling not only for delegates in Tennessee but a larger group of delegates in Ohio and Georgia on the same day.

Early voting in Shelby County begins Wednesday at Shelby County Election Commission headquarters, 157 Poplar Ave., only. It expands Tuesday, Feb. 21, to 20 locations across the county, with Feb. 28 as the last day of the early-voting period at all locations.

For a list of early-voting locations and hours go to www.shelbyvote.com.

The hardest fought local races on the ballot are the Democratic primary for General Sessions Court clerk and the GOP primary for assessor.

The Democratic contest is a five-person contest including clerk pro tempore Ed Stanton Jr., who was appointed to the position when the General Sessions Court judges suspended Otis Jackson, the elected clerk, following Jackson’s indictment last year on corruption charges. Stanton is the former head of the court clerk office’s civil division.

Jackson is seeking re-election to the clerk’s office. Also running is Shelby County Commission chairman Sidney Chism and Karen Woodward of Lakeland, as well as former Memphis City Schools principal and coach Marion Brewer.

The GOP primary is a two-person race between Rick Rout and James Finney.

Shelby County Assessor of Property Cheyenne Johnson has a challenge in the Democratic primary from Steve Webster.

The Republican field of challengers includes John Bogan, who has lately attracted more attention as the leader of a group of Fisherville residents opposed to annexation attempts the city of Memphis is considering. Joining him in the primary skirmish are Randy Lawson and Tim Walton.

The primaries for district attorney general were decided at the January filing deadline with incumbent Amy Weirich unopposed in the Republican primary and Carol Chumney unopposed in the Democratic primary.

So was the Democratic primary for County Commission District 1 Position 3, where Steve Ross is running unopposed. He meets the winner in the Republican primary contest between Steve Basar and Marilyn Loeffel in the August county general election.

PROPERTY SALES 36 154 6,546
MORTGAGES 34 94 4,129
BUILDING PERMITS 201 554 15,915
BANKRUPTCIES 43 126 3,396