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VOL. 133 | NO. 88 | Wednesday, May 2, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: Primary Results and Analysis, Bike Launch, Gibson's Bankruptcy

By Bill Dries

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The immediate headline of Tuesday’s county primary elections is Lee Harris and David Lenoir battling in the August county general to see who becomes the next county mayor. But there were lots of other stories in the results. Here's the roundup of that and the other countywide primaries.



And a few immediate thoughts after midnight:

The combined turnout was about 75,000 voters which means more people voted early than voted on election day. By the numbers, this was fewer voters than four years ago for this same election cycle – 96,121 in May 2014. The percentage is also lower than the 18 percent turnout four years ago no matter how you calculate it. If you go with the active voter number of 500,384, the turnout Tuesday was 14.9 percent. If you go by inactive and active voters – which are both eligible to vote – the turnout is 13.4 percent.

The message that sends to those who are new to electoral political involvement in the wake of the Trump presidency or out of the upswing in protests that began before Trump’s election is they did well in getting new candidates out, not so well in voter turnout.

Name recognition and incumbency – even an incumbency that’s got a bit of rust on it – worked well with a few notable exceptions. Those exceptions being incumbent Republican commissioner Steve Basar who got upset; former SCS board member Stephanie Gatewood who lost in the commission Democratic primary won by Take Them Down 901 founder Tami Sawyer and Probate Court Clerk Paul Boyd who got upset in the Republican primary by the previous clerk Chris Thomas.

Republicans dodged a bullet with Chip Trouy’s win in the Republican primary over Keith Alexander, the party’s 2014 nominee for Assessor who between elections showed up on a white nationalist radio show, which apparently everyone missed until the last week of the primary campaign – too late to have his name removed from the primary ballot by party leaders. Although had Alexander won the primary, Trouy probably would have gone to the party’s primary board to contest his status as nominee.

More on all of this in the Wednesday edition.

Here is our rundown of all 13 commission races on the ballot include Basar’s upset by Brandon Morrison, who by my judgment had the best yard sign game out there in this election cycle – Trouy being a very close second. And Mickell Lowery claiming a commission seat outright Tuesday by winning a crowded primary and having no opposition in August.

Explore Bike Share debuts May 23 with 60 bike rental stations and 600 bicycles.

The giveaway was the metal bars. Explore Bike Share launches May 23 – 60 stations and 600 bicycles with the infrastructure already taking shape around the city. The bike stations are being assembled around town including in front of AutoZone Park. The Big Roll Out, as it’s being called, will include a gathering at Court Square the morning of the debut that ends with a bicycle ride to all 60 stations.

The day after the new owners of the Gibson Guitar Factory and Showroom building announce a local partnership for further development of the Downtown building, Gibson itself files for bankruptcy reorganization. The story per Rolling Stone.

The sale of a key parcel at the Central and Young intersection. It’s the bay next to what was Toad Hall on the southwest corner of the intersection.

FedEx names a new president and CEO of FedEx Freight as well as a new executive vice president and COO for the same division.

The 2018-2019 Opera Memphis season starts in September on the other side of the summer with free performances around the city and county and includes a new opera based on interviews with Army veterans.

First Tennessee closes and sells a branch in Greeneville, Tennessee that was part of its merger with Capital Bank.

In Don Wade’s sports notebook, the new kickoff rule the NFL is considering and pitching, pitching, pitching.

The Arkansas Supreme Court continues to close off the exemptions some lower courts made to the state dicamba ban – this time in Clay County.

In our Memphis Newsmakers segment, the new athletic director at St. Mary’s Episcopal School, John Bartholomew, talks about being the son of a teacher and cross country as a foundation.

PROPERTY SALES 61 61 6,453
MORTGAGES 46 46 4,081
BUILDING PERMITS 113 113 15,474
BANKRUPTCIES 19 19 3,289