VOL. 133 | NO. 34 | Thursday, February 15, 2018
Four County Commissioners Unopposed As May Ballot Filing Deadline Approaches
By Bill Dries
With a noon deadline Thursday, Feb. 15, to make the May 1 Shelby County primary ballot, four incumbent county commissioners had no opposition filed in their re-election bids.
Five Republican primary races on the ballot for 23 county offices, including the 13 commission seats, were one-candidate affairs with two or more Democrats running in the competing primaries as of Tuesday. Two Democratic primary races were also one-candidate races against a field of multiple Republican contenders in the companion primary.
The primaries for Shelby County mayor, county clerk, trustee and juvenile court clerk – four out of 23 offices – are the only races promising multiple candidates in both the Democratic and Republican primaries.
Those filing by the noon deadline Thursday have another week to withdraw if they wish. The Shelby County Election Commission will then set the ballot for the primaries with early voting April 11-26 in advance of the May 1 election day.
The winners on May 1 advance to the Aug. 2 county general elections with the winners there taking office Sept. 1.
District 4 Republican commissioner Mark Billingsley was one of four commission incumbents on the ballot who had no opposition as of Tuesday.
District 10 Democratic commissioner Reginald Milton had no opposition Democratic or Republican by Tuesday after primary challenger Vontyna Durham, a small business owner and former city code enforcement inspector, withdrew.
District 6 Democratic commissioner Willie Brooks was unopposed as of Tuesday with a potential primary challenger, Jonathan Lang Smith, who had a petition out.
District 12 Democratic commissioner Van Turner had no opposition by Tuesday, but Vandail Verner has a petition out for the May primary.
In commission District 2, David Clyde Bradford Jr. of Collierville had no opposition in the Republican primary and two potential Democratic primary rivals – neither of whom had filed as of Tuesday. Taura Taylor of Cordova and Thomas F. Carpenter of Collierville pulled petitions Monday.
Incumbent Republican commissioner George Chism is not seeking re-election and is instead a contender for trustee.
Chism is one of seven commissioners not seeking re-election this year – five because of term limits – guaranteeing the commission that takes office in September will have a majority of new members.
Former Memphis City Schools board member Stephanie Gatewood filed Tuesday in the Democratic primary for County Commission District 7 joining Tami Sawyer. Republican contender Sam Goff is running unopposed as of Tuesday.
Former Shelby County Schools board member Sharon Webb has made the most competitive County Commission race in District 9, the seat now held by Democrat Justin Ford, who is term limited, a bipartisan affair. She became the only Republican to pull and file her petition in a race that has six contenders in the Democratic primary including Ian Jeffries and Jonathan L. Smith, who filed earlier this week.
However, at the end of the business day Tuesday, the election commission staff indicated Webb did not have the necessary 25 signatures of voters who live in the commission district to qualify for the ballot.
Lindsey Massey of Bartlett made the Republican primary for County Commission District 3 a two-candidate race as she filed, joining Mick Wright of Bartlett in the May primary. That could decide who gets the seat Republican commissioner David Reaves is giving up. No Democratic contenders had pulled petitions as the close of business Tuesday.
The primary races for Shelby County mayor appeared complete as of Wednesday as county commissioner Terry Roland filed in the Republican primary for Shelby County Mayor.
Outgoing Trustee David Lenoir and outgoing Juvenile Court Clerk Joy Touliatos had already filed in the Republican primary. State Sen. Lee Harris and former County Commissioner Sidney Chism have filed in the Democratic primary.
Former Probate Court Clerk Chris Thomas, who is also a former county commissioner, is launching a late bid to challenge incumbent Probate Court Clerk Paul Boyd in the Republican primary. Thomas announcing his intent to file Wednesday.
Incumbent Criminal Court Clerk Richard DeSaussure has no opposition in the Republican primary as he seeks re-election. Heidi Kuhn was the only challenger in the Democratic primary who had filed as of Tuesday. There were two other potential contenders with petitions out as the filing deadline neared.
The race for property assessor as of Tuesday was Republican Robert “Chip” Trouy in the Republican primary and outgoing County Commissioner Melvin Burgess in the Democratic primary. Other contenders had petitions out in both primaries.
In the other countywide primaries, Steve Moore of Cordova filed Tuesday joining three other Republicans in the May primary for Circuit Court clerk. Democratic contender Temika Gipson had no opposition in her primary as of Tuesday, but three potential Democratic contenders had petitions out.
Dexter Orman of Arlington, a staff accountant at Leading Edge Professionals Inc., filed Tuesday joining Chism in the Republican primary for trustee. Former Trustee Regina Morrison Newman also filed Tuesday, joining Derrick Bennett and former MLGW president Joseph Lee in the Democratic primary.
Morrie Noel became the third Democrat in the May primary for Juvenile Court clerk when he filed Tuesday joining Harold C. Smith and Memphis City Council member Janis Fullilove.
The Republican primary is a matchup between Robert Hill of the trustee’s office and Bartlett alderman Bobby Simmons.
Shelandra Ford, a principal administrator in the General Sessions Court Clerk’s office, joined Adrienne Pakis-Gillon in the Democratic primary for register with the winner in May facing outgoing County Clerk Wayne Mashburn, who so far is running unopposed with no other Republican filed or with a petition out.
Incumbent Republican Register Tom Leatherwood is term limited and is running for Circuit Court clerk, where incumbent Republican Jimmy Moore is retiring.