VOL. 133 | NO. 63 | Wednesday, March 28, 2018
August Ballot Starts to Fill Out Ahead of April 5 Filing Deadline
By Bill Dries
With contenders in the May county primaries now appearing at various campaign forums, holding their own events and going door-to-door in search of votes, there are still a few gaps to be filled on the Aug. 2 state and federal primary ballot.
As of the end of last week, 48 candidates had filed their qualifying petitions with the Shelby County Election Commission, not counting those running for positions on the state executive committees of the state Republican and Democratic parties.
In the state primaries, the 14 state House seats and three of the five state Senate seats representing Shelby County are the main event. Nine of the 15 incumbents whose seats are on the ballot this year had filed as of last week.
The August ballot of state and federal primaries and county general elections is starting to assume its final form as the April 5 filing deadline nears. (Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)
Legislative incumbents on both sides of the aisle – Democratic and Republican – are in part-time campaign mode with the General Assembly still in session but expected to adjourn in early April. The remaining incumbents and any other contenders have until April 5 to file.
All of the Shelby County incumbents seeking re-election, except District 93 Democratic incumbent G.A. Hardaway, have pulled their qualifying petitions for a place on the ballot.
Brett N. Williams, a fencing contractor at Alliance Fencing, is the first of four contenders with petitions out to file in the August Democratic primary for state House District 85, the seat incumbent Democrat Johnnie Turner is giving up.
It is one of three open seats in the Shelby County delegation to Nashville. The others are the District 29 state Senate seat Democratic incumbent Lee Harris is giving up to run for Shelby County mayor and the state House District 91 seat Democrat Raumesh Akbari is giving up to run for Harris’s state Senate seat.
Meanwhile, Republican state House member Ron Lollar has a potential Democratic challenger in the District 99 general election, but has no opposition so far in the August primary. Dave Cambron, a member of the state Democratic executive committee who played a key role in the reformation of the Shelby County Democratic Party last year, pulled a petition last week to run in the District 99 Democratic primary.
With Cambron pulling a petition, Democrats have now lined up opposition for the five Republican incumbents in the Shelby delegation seeking re-election this year – four state House members and one state senator.
Democratic state House members Joe Towns Jr., Karen Camper and Antonio Parkinson each had no opposition, Republican or Democratic, going into the last full week of the filing period.
The August ballot also features the winners of the May county primaries in the county general election contests. And April 5 is the deadline for independent candidates in those races to file with the Shelby County Election Commission.
Katherine Culverhouse filed Friday as an independent in the countywide race for property assessor. Culverhouse, of Bartlett, is revenue accounting clerk for the city of Bartlett.
There are also nonpartisan races on the August ballot for four of the nine seats on the Shelby County Schools board. The incumbents holding all four of those seats are seeking re-election and all are facing potential challengers.
Shelby County Schools board chairwoman Shante Avant filed last week for re-election to her District 6 seat.
Kori Hamner, a former SCS teacher, coach and district administrator, filed Friday to run against District 9 incumbent Mike Kernell.
There are also four special judicial elections on the August ballot – two for divisions of Circuit Court, one for Criminal Court and one for the division of General Sessions Criminal Court designated as the Environmental Court.
Attorney Joe Townsend joined the field of contenders last week for Circuit Court Judge Division 9.