Last Word: Election Impact, Fun with Election Cross Tabs and DeSoto vs. Marshall

By Bill Dries

Now, about the idea being discussed starting late last week that when the Feds are looking at someone running for office or holding office they have to take into consideration how close the next election is for that person.

That consideration can be more complex than it sounds and some of you will not be surprised that we have a couple of cases that make the point here in Memphis.

There was a spike in new voter registrations leading into the early voting in advance of the Nov. 8 election day – the Presidential general election.

And we’ve seen it before here in Shelby County in the last four Presidential general elections. But Shelby County Elections Administrator Linda Phillips tells us it wasn’t anywhere near the spike in the 2008 Presidential general. Yet, as we’ve noted, the early voter turnout is ahead of the turnout at this point in 2008 and 2012.

We got a data dump of early voter turnout material Monday evening from Phillips that tells us more about who is turning out in what levels as the early voting period heads for a Thursday round up.

And Phillips, who is overseeing her second election here since becoming administrator, is seeing some things in the data as well. Specifically about that spike that’s not what it was in 2008.

“This suggests to me that voters who newly registered in 2008 have remained active voters,” she wrote in her email.

Among the data we poured over Monday evening, a breakdown of the early voting through last Friday by the Congressional district those early voters live in. Of the 161,239 early voters, 102,962 – or 63.9 percent – are in the 9th district where Democratic incumbent Steve Cohen is having his easiest campaign since claiming the seat in 2006. And 58,277 – or 36.1 percent – are in the 8th district where Republican nominee David Kustoff is heavily favored to claim the seat covering parts of Memphis and Shelby County as well as 14 other West Tennessee counties that Republican incumbent Stephen Fincher is giving up.

My personal favorite is the breakdown of early voters by the precincts they live in. The highest percentage of early vote turnout by precinct is in Lakeland 1 where 42.1 percent of that precinct’s 5,642 voters have already cast their ballots. That’s followed by Brunswick 1 and Millington 1. The lowest percentage turnout is 12.6 percent in 69-02 in Frayser. Next up from the bottom is the 15.5 percent in 58-04 which votes at South Park Elementary School on Getwell.

A few cautionary notes, some places in this county are election day strongholds for reasons from tradition to the age of the voters in those precincts. And precincts vary widely in the number of voters each contains. There is no standard size so percentages are to be taken with a grain of salt.

One more look at this by age, the largest age group as a percentage of the voters registered in Shelby County is 26-35. That age group makes up 19.2 percent of the county’s voters. But through last Friday only 9.1 percent of the turn out. Meanwhile, voters 18-25 – the newest voters – make up 11.7 percent of all voters countywide and their turnout thus far has been 4.9 percent of the total.

When you come back tomorrow, class, we’ll look at what year voters registered in and what precinct they live in. Fear not, we wouldn't give out names and addresses even if we had them. Did you know there are 520 voters on the rolls who registered in 1949? Oh, yes. DEMOCRACY.

After all of the numbers and different ways to look at them and “fun with cross tab queries,” as Phillips put it in the subject line of her email, Tennessee is about as far as you can get from a battleground state. You can judge the distance by how open our politicos are about their considerations of what comes next – the 2018 county and state elections. And that’s what brought me to Beale Street Landing Saturday evening for a dinner cruise between the two bridges with about 200 people – some wearing masks.

The County Commission advanced the pot ordinance on that side of the Main Street Mall to second reading Monday, but it didn’t have anywhere near the seven votes to pass once it reaches third reading. And the commission has split on the city’s MLGW PILOT referendum that County Mayor Mark Luttrell has come out against.

A couple of legal notes. Baker Donelson is merging with Ober/Kaler of Baltimore, a smaller law firm that bolsters Baker Donelson’s health care practice and puts it over 800 attorneys, making it one of the 50 largest law firms in the nation. The merger should be a done deal after the new year.

The other note is a public reprimand of Veterans Court Judge Bill Anderson by the state body that investigates complaints against judges. This complaint involved Anderson’s attempt to have someone he knew released on their own recognizance about a year ago in Bartlett. Bartlett authorities didn’t go for it, setting a $10,000 bond. In the dispute was a feeling by Anderson that his position as a General Sessions Court Judge in Shelby County gave him some jurisdiction.

In our Commercial Real Estate Emphasis:

You know about the competition on both sides of the Tennessee-Mississippi state line. But what about the DeSoto County-Marshall County competition where the DeSoto Trade Center, featuring the largest warehouse in DeSoto County, is just about complete? This is two years after Panattoni opened a warehouse a bit larger in its Global Gateway Logistics Center, on both sides of the state-line at Marshall County and Fayette County.

There were 41 multifamily real estate sales in Memphis in the third quarter – the most for a quarter in two years. CBRE’s survey for the second quarter showed a 93.2 percent total occupancy rate and market rents are up 4.7 percent. Mark Fogelman of Fogelman Management Group says the rise here is later than other big cities and multi-family markets.

Multi-family is some of what McNeill CRE does in a long arc as developers that includes retail in Wolfchase and the mixed-use Thornwood development in Germantown. Spence Ray, the vice president of McNeill, says “flexibility” has served the company well through the recession.

There is a lot going on in CRE and we have a review and forecast at Thursday afternoon’s Daily News Seminar Series at the Brooks. We start a bit earlier than usual, at 2 p.m., with Urban Land Institute offering their look at emerging trends in commercial real estate nationally. The 3 p.m. seminar features folks with Poag, Boyle, Colliers, CBRE and Newmark Grubb Knight Frank of Houston.

One more CRE note in Digest, what is probably that last mall movie theater within a mall will remain at Wolfchase Galleria. Malco decided against its earlier plans not to renew the lease and instead will update its theaters near the mall carousel starting in January with the work to be finished by March. Meanwhile, Malco still has plans for a new theater nearby on Highway 64 west of Houston Levee Road that is to open in the summer of 2018. Interesting to see what Malco is able to do with the mall space and you have to pull for the concept of a carousel just a few steps from a movie theater that shows children’s movies – don’t you?

Warning for those of you still hurting from Saturday’s beat town at the Liberty Bowl by the T-team. The T-word is used in Don Wade’s review and look forward to this coming Saturday’s Tiger road trip to play SMU.

GE merges with Baker Hughes Inc. when it comes to oil and gas drilling in the energy slump.

Toyota has a keyless car-sharing system that it will test next year. You unlock the doors and start the cars with smartphones.

And the USDA gives the greenlight to two kinds of genetically engineered potatoes. Yes, the Irish potato famine figures prominently in this story.