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VOL. 133 | NO. 148 | Friday, July 27, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: Early Voting Tea Leaves, More Sunflowers and Marketing the Airport

By Bill Dries

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The blitz is on to the last weekend of campaigning as early voting finishes up Saturday and election day awaits next Thursday. Some of the contenders on the ballot have their second wind. Others are waiting for their political sails to fill. All of them are still moving at various speeds in the Memphis summer of unrelenting heat, sun screen, three changes of campaign t-shirts per day, 100-foot markers at early voting sites, robo-calls, replaced yard signs, new direct mail pieces and voters who swear they voted for you even if they have no idea what you are running for.

If past trends are any indication, Friday will post the largest daily turnout of the 14-day early voting period in advance of the Aug. 2 election day.

Through Thursday, early voting in Shelby County topped 63,000, close but not over the 2014 turnout at this point in the election process. Our story has been updated to include the Thursday totals. But they are just general totals. We don’t have the breakdown for Thursday yet on how this split between the Democratic and Republican primaries – the key indicator of which side of the partisan divide is doing what. We’ll have that probably Friday morning to add to the information.

Here is another part of the deeper dive into the early voting numbers. If the trend in this same election cycle in past election years holds then Friday – the next to last day -- should be the biggest day of the 14-day early voting period. It will be a busy weekend on the campaign trail around town and across the state for the four major contenders in the Republican primary for Tennessee Governor. And there is lots of speculation that Shelby County Republicans are still thinking the primary race over. The race started out with Randy Boyd and Diane Black dividing up many of the Republican movers and shakers locally. That has shifted to include Bill Lee into the mix.

A follow-up to our lead when last we met about the sunflowers at Agricenter.

The first wave of sunflowers at Agricenter is drawing lots of interest and lots of snapshots.

The airport authority goes broader in its new sports-themed marketing after making a big splash in 2015 with Grizz guard Tony Allen as the face of the airport and the airport thus a prominent part of advertising at FedExForum during Grizz home games. The strategy now is to scale back the forum part of that spend with the Grizz and look at including the Redbirds and Tigers basketball.

Plans for a Memphis Sports Hall of Fame include honoring the city's rich sports heritage.

Don Wade on plans for the Memphis Sports Hall of Fame to be at AutoZone Park and who the very first inductee should be. And in his Press Box column, Don writes about what the Cardinals need and why that’s connected to Dakota Hudson getting pulled from the Redbirds game in Salt Lake City this past Wednesday night.

Fallout from the decision by a Desoto County grand jury that a still unnamed Southaven police officer will face no charges in the fatal shooting of Ismael Lopez there a year ago as Southaven police were serving a warrant but found themselves at a house across the street from where the suspect they were seeking lived.

In Arkansas, backers of a ballot question on casino gaming for the November ballot have more time to get the signatures they need on a petition.

The local real estate market, trends and numbers, is the topic on “Behind The Headlines” with Wendy Greenlaw of Chandler Reports, the real estate information company that is part of The Daily News Co. Inc., Steve Brown of Crye-Leike and homebuilder David Goodwin. The show airs Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 8:30 a.m. on WKNO TV.

The cover story by Don Wade in our weekly, The Memphis News, is a complete wrap up of the recent SEC Media Days in Atlanta. The PDF of the new issue is up now on this website. The hard copies are in the racks Friday morning and the online version of the cover story goes up here Friday afternoon.

PROPERTY SALES 64 151 1,493
MORTGAGES 45 105 1,152
BUILDING PERMITS 201 410 3,466