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VOL. 130 | NO. 197 | Friday, October 9, 2015

Five City Council Races Destined for Runoffs

By Bill Dries

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The identity of the Memphis City Council that will take office in January with six new members was still in flux at the end of a very long and frustrating Oct. 8 election night.

Memphis voters in five City Council districts have one more election to decide – the Nov. 19 council runoffs. 

(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

The races for four of those six open seats and the seat now held by an appointee to the council are going to a Nov. 19 runoff election – one week before Thanksgiving.

The healthy slate of runoff races was anticipated with so many candidates vying for council seats with no incumbent seeking re-election.

But the candidates grew more concerned about turnout in the runoffs when the Shelby County Election Commission changed the date from a month after the October election to six weeks after.

Early voting in the runoffs begins Oct. 30.

Incumbent council members Bill Morrison, Janis Fullilove, Reid Hedgepeth, Joe Brown, Kemp Conrad and Edmund Ford Jr. all easily won re-election. And newcomers Martavius Jones and Philip Spinosa claimed the two open super district council seats.

Jones, a former Shelby County Schools board member, beat Mickell Lowery, the son of outgoing council incumbent Myron Lowery, and Jacqueline Camper for the Super District 8 Position 3 seat.

Final unofficial returns from the Shelby County Election Commission were:

Martavius Jones: 19,302
Mickell Lowery: 17,600
Jacqueline Camper: 5,996

Spinosa emerged at the top of a five-candidate field for the Super District 9 Position 2 council seat. His closest competitor was New Olivet Baptist Church pastor and former Shelby County Schools board member Kenneth T. Whalum Jr.

The final unofficial returns were:

Phillip Spinosa: 23,686
Kenneth Whalum Jr.: 11,782
Paul Shaffer: 7,078
Stephanie Gatewood: 5,567
Lynn Moss: 1,949 

Meanwhile, former Circuit Court Judge Kay Robilio claimed the City Court Clerk’s office in Thursday’s election. She bested seven other contenders in the non-runoff contest.

Robilio succeeds Thomas Long, who chose not to seek a sixth term after serving as clerk for 20 years. Long’s son, Thomas Long II, was among the contenders.

The final unofficial results show:

Kay Spalding Robilio: 25,047
Wanda Halbert: 23,680
Shep Wilbun: 17,587
Thomas Long II: 11,127
Justin Ford: 9,567
William Chism Jr.: 4,458
Dewey Clark: 1,845
Antonio Harris: 1,550

Races headed to Nov. 19 runoffs

Frank Colvett and Rachel Knox are the runoff contenders in council District 2, the East Memphis-Cordova district that came open late in the campaign season when incumbent Bill Boyd announced he would not seek re-election.

The final unofficial returns were:

Frank Colvett: 7,451
Rachel Knox: 3,384
Jim Tomasik: 2,809
Detric Golden: 1,360

In the Whitehaven-Hickory Hill District 3, former Shelby County Schools board member Patrice Jordan Robinson and former Memphis Education Association President Keith Williams were the top two contenders for the runoff.

The final totals were:

Patrice Jordan Robinson: 5,547
Keith Williams: 2,381
Tanya L. Cooper: 2,014
Rhonda Banks: 663
Coleman Thompson: 434
Kevin Mott: 240
Sherman Kilimanjaro: 161

Among the eight contenders in the South Memphis-Parkway Village District 4, Jamita Swearengen and Doris Deberry-Bradshaw advanced to the November runoff.

With all precincts reporting the final unofficial tally was:

Jamita Swearengen: 3,669
Doris Deberry Bradshaw: 2,714
Donnell Cobbins: 1,386
Kirstin Cheers: 1,020
John Cornes: 882
Adrian Jones: 531
George Walker: 507
Louis Morganfield III: 359 

In council District 5, Dan Springer and Worth Morgan finished atop a field of 8 in the Midtown-East Memphis district.

The totals are:

Worth Morgan: 6,369
Dan Springer: 4,645
Mary Wilder: 3,702
John Marek: 3,373
Charles “Chooch” Pickard: 1,271
Jennifer James Williams: 314
Jimmie Franklin: 251

Incumbent council member Berlin Boyd, who was appointed to the District 7 council seat, advanced to a runoff with Anthony Anderson in the North Memphis-Downtown-Frayser district.

Boyd and Anderson emerged at the top of a field of nine contenders, the largest field in any of the 13 council races.

The unofficial vote totals were:

Berlin Boyd: 2,575
Anthony Anderson: 2,338
A. Ambee Johnson: 1,189
Thurston Smith: 1,027
Michael Steven Moore: 837
David Vinciarelli: 653
Coby Smith: 388
Eric Dunn: 362
Alfonzo Durell Lee: 338

PROPERTY SALES 39 202 12,960
MORTGAGES 25 110 8,113
BUILDING PERMITS 114 645 30,579
BANKRUPTCIES 37 122 6,186