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VOL. 128 | NO. 211 | Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Current Elections Merge With Future Campaigns

By Bill Dries

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The campaigns for elections in 2013 are beginning to overlap with campaigns on the ballot in 2014.

Former Shelby County Mayor Jim Rout hosted a local Republican Party fundraiser at his Collierville home Saturday, Oct. 26, that featured former Miss America Kellye Cash.

(Daily News/Bill Dries)

The set of 11 elections in three months ends with the Nov. 21 special general election for state House District 91 and a citywide referendum on a half percent sales tax hike.

The slate, which includes six sets of suburban school board races on Nov. 7, leads into the election cycle that features the longest ballot of any election cycle in Shelby County.

Candidates for county offices on the 2014 ballot can begin pulling qualifying petitions to run on Nov. 22, the day after the final election of 2013.

Most politicos call the 2014 Shelby County general elections “the big ballot.” It includes judicial offices and races for district attorney general as well as Juvenile Court judge that are only on the ballot once every eight years.

Shelby County Republican Party Chairman Justin Joy called it the “jumbo ballot” during a Saturday, Oct. 26, local party fundraiser at the Collierville home of former Shelby County Mayor Jim Rout.

Republicans swept every countywide office on the 2010 general election ballot. Democrats took two of the three on the 2012 ballot.

Joy warned the local GOP will have to work harder in 2014 starting with constantly reminding citizens fatigued with the constant stream of elections that others are approaching.

“We really need some serious leadership in this county,” Joy said. “With the victory that we had in 2010, we have some serious leaders. … But I also hope that people are already thinking about the challenges that we as a party face in order to get the word out that there is an election. Believe it or not that’s often the biggest factor to overcome when you have local elections. Secondly, who our candidates are. They are the serious leaders that we need.”

The Saturday event was the first in a series of fundraisers the party is holding to raise a goal of approximately $52,000 to fund the printing and distribution of a local GOP endorsement ballot to be distributed in 2014. Saturday’s fundraiser raised “north of $11,000,” according to Rout.

U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher attended a local party fundraiser Saturday in Collierville.

(Daily News/Bill Dries)

Civil and criminal court judges expected to seek re-election on the August general election ballot were the largest group of candidates at the gathering. Juvenile Court referee Dan Michael, who is expected to run for Juvenile Court judge, was also present.

U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, whose West Tennessee congressional district includes parts of East Memphis and East Shelby County, will be seeking re-election in the August congressional primary and told the group of about 100 at the Collierville fundraiser that President Barack Obama’s goal is “to divide America.”

“We as Republicans must make sure that we stick together and fight,” he said. “We have to stop trying to out-conservative each other because it’s destroying our party. We must win this fight. The Senate elections coming up in ’14 are critical to stopping the president. … His views are totally wrong for America.”

The gathering featured a table of pamphlets and bumper stickers for the re-election of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander who faces a tea party-based challenge in the August statewide GOP primary from state Rep. Joe Carr.

Meanwhile, in East Memphis Saturday, Democrats gathered for a unity rally in behalf of Raumesh Akbari, the Democratic nominee for state House District 91, who won this month’s Democratic primary to advance to the Nov. 21 general election.

The Crescent Center event hosted by state Rep. Barbara Cooper was an effort to bring together the six other contenders in the October primary in a show of unity for Akbari who faces independent Jim Tomasik in next month’s general election.

Fewer than 2,000 of the 32,960 voters in the district turned out for the Democratic primary race.

Akbari claimed the nomination with 502 votes indicating the kind of volatility in a special election when there is nothing else on the ballot for voters. In the November general election there will be the citywide sales tax referendum but turnout is expected to be well below the turnout for regularly scheduled elections for the Tennessee legislature.

Meanwhile, Tomasik has filed suit in U.S. District Court in Nashville seeking to be listed on the November ballot under a Libertarian Party heading instead of as an independent candidate.

The call for Democratic unity in the state House race came the same month that Democrats appeared to have a battle in the May 2014 county primaries to determine who will be the party’s nominee for Juvenile Court clerk.

Shelby County Commissioner Henri Brooks, who is barred by term limits from seeking re-election in 2014, has been campaigning for months for the clerk’s position. Opposition in the primary has surfaced from Kenneth Moody, the former director of the city’s Division of Public Services and Neighborhood during the administration of Mayor Willie Herenton.

PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047