VOL. 129 | NO. 217 | Thursday, November 6, 2014
Voters Approve Wine, 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 general election race for Tennessee governor, the requirement for passage of a state constitutional amendment.
Shelby County voters approved wine sales in food stores effective in July 2016 in all seven towns and cities that it was on the ballot. Voters statewide also approved all four amendments to the state Constitution.
(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)
Unofficial final results for Amendment 1 in Shelby County showed 62.9 percent voted against the measure. Unofficial statewide results as of Wednesday morning, with 99 percent of precincts reporting, showed 53 percent statewide voted yes on the abortion amendment.
Meanwhile, 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 as a precursor to a possible later referendum on wine in food stores there.
Shelby County voters, and voters statewide, also approved amendments giving the Tennessee 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.
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.
In the race for Germantown mayor, Mike Palazzolo received 56 percent of the vote, defeating former city division director George Brogdon to succeed five-term mayor Sharon Goldsworthy, who did not seek re-election.
The two newest state legislators from Shelby County retained Democrats in the two open state Senate seats on the ballot in Shelby County.
In the race for the District 29 seat, Memphis City Council member Lee Harris received 82 percent of the vote, easily beating Republican Jim Finney. Harris, who was elected to the Memphis City Council in 2011, defeated Democratic incumbent Ophelia Ford in the August 2014 Democratic primary.
Harris’ election 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 his term. 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 received 70 percent of the vote to claim the seat her husband, Jim Kyle, vacated when he was elected Chancery Court judge in August. She defeated former Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn, who in August mounted an unsuccessful bid for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination.
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. In Shelby County, the unofficial results show Haslam received 58 percent of the vote in the gubernatorial race, while Alexander received 48 percent in the U.S. Senate race.
Shelby County citizens voted 2-to-1 against Amendment 1, but it was approved statewide with enough votes to garner passage.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen easily won re-election to another two-year term in Congress, receiving 75 percent of the vote to defeat Republican challenger Charlotte Bergmann, making her second run at Cohen.
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.
In other municipal races: John Barzizza upset incumbent Greg Marcom for Germantown alderman Position 1, while Mary Anne Gibson defeated Mary Chick Hill in the open race for Germantown alderman Position 2. Germantown school board member Mark Dely withstood a challenge by Gary Tigert.
In Bartlett, Mayor Keith McDonald was elected to another term without opposition, while incumbent alderman Bubba Pleasant defeated challenger Mick Wright.
In Collierville, 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.