VOL. 129 | NO. 154 | Friday, August 8, 2014
Cohen, Luttrell, Weirich, Harris Take Early Vote
By Bill Dries
Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen has taken the early vote over challenger Ricky Wilkins in the hard fought Democratic Congressional primary on Thursday’s Shelby County election ballot.
Cohen 25,642 or 65.5 percent
Wilkins 12,990 or 33.2 percent
More than 82,000 Shelby County voters cast early ballots over two weeks in advance of the Thursday election day which is fewer than four years ago when the ballot featured many of the same races minus the once every eight years judicial offices. Total turnout in 2010, early vote and election day vote, was 29 percent of the county’s voters.
Republicans swept every countywide office in the August 2010 elections. And Democrats have pinned much of their hopes on a larger voter turnout overall. But Republicans believe a higher turnout might also include voters reacting against some of the campaign controversies of the summer involving Democratic candidates.
Polls opened Thursday morning under cloudy skies with rain and lightning moving into the area shortly after noon.
And it didn’t take long for the political storm of the last two weeks involving endorsement ballots to follow the rain.
Attorneys for former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Sr. reportedly filed a court action during the day over the distribution of a “Harold Ford Sr. Ballot” that showed up at some election day polling sites.
In the race for District Attorney General, incumbent Republican Amy Weirich took a wide margin over Democratic challenger Joe Brown in the race at the top of the county general election ballot.
The early vote totals are:
Weirich 52,293 or 65 percent
Brown 28,028 or 35 percent
Incumbent Republican Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell took the early vote over Democratic challenger Deidre Malone.
Luttrell 50,678 or 62.7 percent
Malone 28,956 or 35.8 percent
In the open race for Juvenile Court Judge with incumbent Curtis Person Jr. not seeking another eight-year term, his chief magistrate, Dan Michael, carried the early vote over Memphis City Court Judge Tarik Sugarmon.
Michael 36,665 or 52.8 percent
Sugarmon 33,656 or 47.2 percent
In the Democratic primary for state Senate District 29, challenger and Memphis Council member Lee Harris was beating incumbent Ophelia Ford for a seat the Ford family has held since 1975. Ford was running third to Ricky Dixon.
Harris 6,077 or 41.5 percent
Dixon 4,327 or 29.6 percent
Ford 3,855 or 26.3 percent
Shelby County early vote totals in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate reflected the hard fought contest in which Knoxville attorneys Terry Adams and Gordon Ball have spent a lot of time in Memphis working the city’s Democratic base in the four-way contest that includes Larry Crim and Gary Jean Davis.
Ball 16,199 or 46 percent
Adams 10,713 or 30.4 percent
Davis 4,094 or 11.6 percent
Crim 3,959 or 11.2 percent
In the Republican Senate primary, incumbent Lamar Alexander easily took the early vote over Tea Party backed challenger and state Representative Joe Carr and five other challengers including former Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn.
Alexander 20,050 or 55.8 percent
Carr 10,227 or 28.5 percent
Flinn 4,851 or 13.5 percent
All three Tennessee Supreme Court Justices at the bottom of the ballot in the judicial retention elections were feeling the heat of a campaign led by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey to vote against their retention. The votes to retain Chief Justice Gary Wade and Justices Cornelia Clark and Sharon Lee were the majority in the early vote with each getting 67 to 68 percent of the early vote for retention.
In the only countwide partisan race without an incumbent seeking re-election, the race for Criminal Court Clerk, Republican nominee and chief administrator of the office Richard DeSaussurre was leading Democratic nominee and Memphis City Council member Wanda Halbert in the early vote.
DeSaussurre 40,677 or 52.4 percent
Halbert 36,896 or 47.6 percent
Cheyenne Johnson, the only countywide Democratic incumbent on the ballot, took the early vote in the race for Assessor over Republican challenger Keith Alexander and independent candidate John Bogan. With the assessor’s race switching to the main county election cycle, Johnson was running for the office for the second time in as many years with the one-time only two year term of office she was elected to in 2012.
Johnson 44,492 or 57.3 percent
Alexander 30,999 or 40 percent
Bogan 2,094 or 2.7 percent
And incumbent Republican Sheriff Bill Oldham took the early voter over Democratic challenger Bennie Cobb.
Oldham 46,185 or 58.9 percent
Cobb 32,267 or 41.1 percent