As the filing date of February 20 for countywide offices approaches, it begins to appear that the Democratic primary for Shelby County Mayor, among other offices, could be a highly competitive affair,
Some name politicians are among those who have drawn petitions to compete in the May 6 Democratic primary for the right to oppose incumbent Republican mayor Mark Luttrell. Former Shelby County Commissioner Deidre Malone has long had her hat in the ring. But she has been joined of late by such petition-pullers as County Commission chairman James Harvey and former (and possibly future) Shelby County Schools board member Kenneth Whalum Jr.
Not to be too coy about it, a line-up of such prominent African-American Democrats increases prospects for an entry by Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy, especially inasmuch as Mulroy has himself received private commitments of support from significant black political figures.
The term-limited Democratic commissioner, a law professor at the University of Memphis, has focused of late on applying for open federal and state judgeships but has long considered the possibility of running for county mayor.
Another spirited race is developing in new Commission District 9 between incumbent Commissioner Justin Ford and three Democrats with public names of their own — former School Board member Patrice Robinson, current Memphis Education Association president Keith Williams, and veteran educator and frequent candidate James O. Catchings.
The new Commission format of 13 single districts will undoubtedly result in a series of highly contested races, on both the Democratic and the Republican sides of the ledger. Watch this space. -