VOL. 133 | NO. 71 | Monday, April 9, 2018
Three Incumbents Unopposed at August Primary Ballot Deadline
By Bill Dries
Three incumbent Democratic state House members in the Shelby County delegation to the Tennessee Legislature were effectively re-elected Thursday, April 5, at the noon deadline for candidates in the Aug. 2 state and federal primaries to file their qualifying petitions.
Democrats Joe Towns, Karen Camper and Larry Miller had no opposition in the August Democratic or Republican primaries.
Meanwhile, Democrats have fielded challengers for every Republican incumbent in the Shelby delegation to Nashville.
No surprises at last week’s filing deadline for the August primary ballot with three state legislative Democrats in Shelby County running unopposed and six state House races to be decided with the August Democratic primaries. (Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)
The Shelby County Election Commission was still verifying signatures on the qualifying petitions into Friday. And every candidate who made the Thursday filing deadline has another week to withdraw if they wish before the Election Commission sets the ballot for August.
The Thursday filing deadline also applied to the two statewide races this year for governor and U.S. Senate. The Tennessee Secretary of State’s office was verifying signatures on those petitions into Friday as well.
There were no major changes in either of those races. A total of 47 citizens filed to run for governor – seven Republicans and five Democrats in the August statewide primary and another 35 independent candidates who advance to the November general election.
However, at a Saturday meeting the Tennessee Republican Party's executive committee voted in Nashville to remove Eddie Murphy of Franklin from the Republican primary ballot for not being a "bona fide" Republican because of his past voting record.
The five major Republican contenders who have so far mounted a statewide campaign are U.S. Rep. Diane Black, former Tennessee Economic and Community Development commissioner Randy Boyd, state House speaker Beth Harwell, Franklin business owner Bill Lee and Johnson City Realtor Kay White.
The two major Democratic contenders by the same standards are former Nashville mayor Karl Dean and state Rep. Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley.
The U.S. Senate race had 20 contenders at the deadline – 10 Republicans, three Democrats and another seven independent candidates who automatically advance to the November general election.
And the Tennessee Republican Party's executive committee removed seven of the 10 contenders in its primary because of their past voting records, leaving three contenders in August. Those removed include Larry Crim of Nashville who has run in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in recent years. His most recent political outing was challenging U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis in the 2016 Democratic primary despite not living in the district.
And former Memphis opthalmologist Rolando Toyos, who now lives in Brentwood, was also removed from the Republican Senate primary ballot.
The race among major contenders who have so far mounted a statewide campaign for the seat Republican Bob Corker is leaving has already quickly narrowed to former Democratic Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen and Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn.
In the races for the two congressional seats that cover Shelby County, Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of the 9th District has three challengers in the August Democratic primary, perennial candidates Isaac Richmond and M Latroy Williams and newcomer Kasandra L. Smith. Republican Charlotte Bergman, who was Cohen’s Republican challenger in 2010, is unopposed in her primary.
In the 8th District where Republican incumbent David Kustoff of Germantown is seeking a second term, he has opposition in the August primary from former county commissioner George Flinn and Colleen Owens of Jackson. The district covers 15 counties in West Tennessee including part of Shelby County. The Democratic primary is between John Boatner of Memphis and Erica Stotts Pearson of Cordova.
In the Tennessee Legislature races for districts covering Shelby County, three state House races advanced to a showdown between Republican incumbents with no opposition in the August primary and Democratic challengers also with no opposition in August.
•In state House District 95, Republican incumbent Kevin Vaughan is unopposed in his primary. So is Democratic challenger Sanjeev Memula.
•That’s also the case in state House District 97 where Republican incumbent Jim Coley meets Democratic challenger Allan Creasy in November.
•State House District 99 Republican incumbent Ron Lollar faces Democratic challenger David Cambron in November.
Six state House races will be decided with the August Democratic primary.
•District 85: The seat Democrat Johnnie Turner is giving up. The primary is among Ricky Dixon, Brett N. Williams, Jesse Chism and Lynette P. Williams.
•District 86: The race is among incumbent Barbara Cooper and challengers Amber Huett-Garcia and Jesse K. Jeff.
•District 90: Incumbent John DeBerry faces challenger Torrey Harris.
•District 91: The seat Democrat Raumesh Akbari is leaving to run for state Senate. London Lamar, Juliette Eskridge and Doris Deberry Bradshaw are battling in the primary for one of the three open seats in the Shelby County delegation.
•District 93: Incumbent GA Hardaway faces challenger Eddie M. Neal.
•District 98: Incumbent Antonio Parkinson has opposition from challenger Johnnie Hatten.
•In the race for state Senate District 33: Incumbent Reginald Tate faces challenger Katrina Robinson.
The noon Thursday deadline also applied for contenders in the county nonpartisan races on the August ballot.
Tim Francavilla wins a full term as Bartlett Municipal Judge Division 1 by virtue of having no opposition on the August ballot. He won the position in an election two years ago.
Four of the nine Shelby County Schools board seats are on the ballot in August in nonpartisan races.
All four incumbents are seeking re-election and all are opposed.
Incumbents Shante Avant, Mike Kernell and Chris Caldwell each have three challengers. Billy Orgel faces a challenge from Jerry Alan Cunningham.
Independent candidates who join the winners of the May county primaries on the August county general election ballot at the deadline are Katherine Culverhouse in the Assessor's race, Vontyna Durham in County Commission District 10, Jennings Bernard in the race for Probate Court Clerk and Lady J. Swift in the race for Register.