Akbari Wins Democratic State House Primary

By Bill Dries

Raumesh Akbari, an attorney making her first bid for elected office, won the Democratic primary State House special election Tuesday, Oct. 8 in a low turnout contest featuring seven contenders and an unofficial voter turnout of 5.4 percent.

The field of Democrats were running for the District 91 State House District 91 seat held for 41 years by Memphis Democrat Lois DeBerry. The former House Speaker Pro Tempore and longest serving legislator in the House died in July.

Akbari had the support of State Representative Barbara Cooper in a race featuring lots of new faces including Terica Lamb, a business owner and employee of the Shelby County Trustee’s office, who came in second.

Third place went to Kemba Ford, the daughter of former state Senator John Ford, making her second bid for elected office after a 2011 bid for the Memphis City Council.

Joshua Forbes, another first time contender, placed fourth ahead of Clifford Lewis, who has run for office before and has served on the local Democratic party’s executive committee.

Doris DeBerry Bradshaw, a cousin of DeBerry and the sister of State Rep. John DeBerry finished sixth in the unofficial returns followed by labor official Kermit Moore, who like Bradshaw was making his first bid for elected office.

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

Here are the unofficial results:

Akbari 502 or 28 percent

Lamb 399 or 22 percent

Ford 355 or 20 percent

Forbes 261 or 14 percent

Lewis 134 or 8 percent

DeBerry-Bradshaw 111 or 6 percent

Moore 47 or 2 percent

Akbari advances to a Nov. 21 special general election in District 91 in which she will face independent candidate Jim Tomasik. There were no Republican candidates in the heavily Democratic state House district.

Tomasik filed his qualifying petition as a Libertarian but is listed as an independent.

Tomasik and the Libertarian Party of Tennessee filed suit Tuesday in Nashville Federal Court against Tennessee Elections Coordinator Mark Goins and Secretary of State Tre Hargett seeking to be listed on the Nov. 21 ballot under the Libertarian party heading just as Akbari will be listed under the Democratic party heading.