VOL. 129 | NO. 216 | Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Voters Approve Wine, Constitutional Amendments
By Bill Dries
Shelby County citizens voted 2-to-1 Tuesday, Nov. 4, against a proposed amendment to the Tennessee Constitution that gives the Tennessee Legislature the power to regulate abortion, including in cases of rape or incest.
But the amendment was approved statewide with enough votes to exceed 50 percent of the votes cast in the statewide general election race for Tennessee governor, the requirement for passage of a state constitutional amendment.
In Shelby County, the unofficial final results on Amendment 1 were:
No: 117,372 (62.9 percent)
Yes: 69,237 (37.1 percent)
Unofficial statewide results late Tuesday on the abortion amendment were:
Shelby County "no" votes on the measure accounted for 17.8 percent of the "no" vote statewide by that measure.
Overall, countywide turnout – based on the race with the highest voter count, the U.S. Senate race – totaled 187,012, or 34.6 percent of the county's 539,473 registered voters. Turnout in Shelby County in the same election cycle four years ago was 38 percent.
Meanwhile, Germantown voters elected alderman Mike Palazzolo over former city division director George Brogdon to succeed five-term mayor Sharon Goldsworthy, who did not seek re-election.
Palazzolo: 8,770 (56 percent)
Brogdon: 6,882 (44 percent)
Voters in six of Shelby County’s seven towns and cities, including Memphis, approved wine sales in food stores effective in July 2016.
Voters in the seventh city, Lakeland, approved liquor by the drink Tuesday as a precursor to a possible later referendum on wine in food stores there. The other six towns and cities had already approved liquor by the drink.
The two newest state legislators from Shelby County retained Democrats in the two open state Senate seats on the ballot in Shelby County.
Memphis City Council member Lee Harris easily beat Republican Jim Finney for the District 29 state Senate seat held by a member of the Ford family since 1975.
Harris: 27,689 (82 percent)
Finney: 6,119 (18 percent)
Harris, who was elected to the Memphis City Council in 2011, defeated Democratic incumbent Ophelia Ford in the August 2014 Democratic primary.
His election Tuesday means the City Council will soon be filling a vacancy on the 13-member body, with whoever they select filling the seat for the year left in Harris’ term on the council. He takes office as a state senator in January.
In the special general election in state Senate District 30, former Tennessee Regulatory Authority commissioner Sara Kyle claimed the seat her husband, Jim Kyle, vacated when he was elected Chancery Court judge in August. She beat former Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn, who in August mounted an unsuccessful bid for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination.
Kyle: 18,344 (70 percent)
Flinn: 7,040 (27 percent)
Independent David Vinciarelli: 856 (3 percent)
Because of the timing of Jim Kyle’s election to the bench, the executive committees of the two local political parties selected Kyle and Flinn as their nominees in lieu of a primary election.
The mayor’s race in Germantown reflected a lively debate in the city about the future of its newly established municipal school district and commercial development in the city that has no annexation reserve area to grow into.
The debate resulted in an upset in one of the two races for alderman on the ballot, as incumbent Greg Marcom lost to challenger John Barzizza.
Barzizza: 8,424 (58 percent)
Marcom: 6,096 (42 percent)
In the open race for Germantown alderman Position 2, Realtor and former Shelby County Schools board member Mary Anne Gibson claimed the seat over FedEx employee Mary Chick Hill.
Gibson: 8,180 (59 percent)
Hill: 5,681 (41 percent)
Germantown school board member Mark Dely withstood a challenge by Gary Tigert.
Dely: 6,975 (54 percent)
Tigert: 6,021 (46 percent)
Across Tennessee, the abortion amendment was the closest of the four referendums on proposed Constitutional amendments.
Shelby County voters, and voters statewide, also approved amendments giving the Legislature approval of all appellate court judicial nominations made by the governor; explicitly banning a state income tax or payroll tax; and allowing veterans organizations to hold bingo games.
The unofficial statewide results show the votes for those three amendments also met the threshold of 50 percent plus one of the total turnout in the governor's race.
The Republican incumbent winners of the two statewide races on the Nov. 4 ballot, Gov. Bill Haslam and U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, both carried Shelby County, beating Democratic challengers Charles Brown and Gordon Ball, respectively.
The unofficial results in Shelby County in each race were:
Haslam: 107,018 (58 percent)
Brown: 69,121 (37 percent)
John Jay Hooker: 2,708 (1.4 percent)
Alexander: 90,355 (48 percent)
Ball: 88,838 (47.5 percent)
Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen easily won re-election to another two-year term in Congress over Republican challenger Charlotte Bergmann, making her second run at Cohen.
Cohen: 87,308 (75 percent)
Bergmann: 27,163 (24 percent)
Republican U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher of Frog Jump easily won another term in Congress representing a district dominated by rural West Tennessee as well as parts of East Memphis and eastern Shelby County.
Fincher carried the Shelby County part of the district over Democratic challenger Wes Bradley.
Memphis voters approved a city charter amendment that streamlines city civil service procedures, including appeal hearings for employees who challenge disciplinary actions up to and including firings. The amendment was drafted by Memphis City Council member Kemp Conrad in talks with municipal union leaders, including those of the Memphis Police Association and Memphis Fire Fighters Association.
Firefighters union president Thomas Malone publicly backed the amendment. But police union president Mike Williams came out against it, prompting Conrad to charge that Williams pulled an “about face” on it and was using the charter amendment to campaign for Memphis mayor in 2015.
The unofficial results on the question were:
Yes: 72,537 (71 percent)
No: 30,154 (29 percent)
In Bartlett, incumbent alderman Bubba Pleasant faced the only challenge in a slate of local elections in which Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald was elected to another term without opposition.
Pleasant defeated challenger Mick Wright.
Pleasant: 8,957 (58 percent)
Wright: 6,334 (42 percent)
In Collierville municipal elections, incumbent aldermen Billy Patton beat challenger John E. Stamps III and incumbent alderman Tom Allen bested challenger Greg Cotton.
Alderman Maureen Fraser was re-elected without opposition.
Millington’s lone contested race saw school board incumbent Cody Childress beat challenger Emile Sigee.