After Thursday’s withdrawal period for Shelby County offices and the Shelby County Election Commission’s preliminary certification of the candidate list, the major remaining mystery is whether three candidates can pass muster at a special called meeting of the S.C.E.C.next Wednesday, March 3, at 3 p.m.
The three potential candidates — — Edith Ann Moore and E. Jefferson Jones,, candidates in the Democratic primary for County Commissions 6 and 121, respectively and Latroy Williams, candidate for Trustee — had all filed by the deadline with the correct number of signatures but will be asked to address what were described in a Commission release as “residency complaints.”
The major changes in the final election list for the May 6 primaries were the withdrawal of County Commission chairman James Harvey as a Democratic candidate for county mayor and the Election Commission’s decision to certify Martavius Jones as a candidate in the Democratic primary for the County Commission’s District 10 seat.
The Democratic mayoral field is now former Shelby County Commissioner Deidre Malone, current Commissioner Steve Mulroy, and the Rev. Kenneth Whalum, a former School Board member.
The inclusion of Jones, a stockbroker and former School Board member, creates a three-way primary race between Jones, community organizer Reginald Milton, and political newcomer Jake Brown. Jones’ previous exclusion had been based on doubts about one of his 25 qualifying signatures.
Local speculation will now center on possible filings for state and federal office, the deadline for which is April 3.
—Several incumbent Shelby County legislators, both Democrats and Republicans, have seen potential opponents pick up petitions for possible races against them, but the most vulnerable incumbent may be state Senator Ophelia Ford in District 29, where Memphis City Council member Lee Harris is in the midst of a highly public and well-organized “listening tour” as a possible candidate for the seat in the Democratic primary.
—Though attorney Ricky Wilkins has not yet filed to run in the Democratic primary, he has pulled a petition and is still considered a probable candidate in the Democratic primary against incumbent 9th District congressman Steve Cohen. The Rev. Isaac Richmond, an activist and perennial candidate, has already filed in the primary.
—Former longtime Democratic state representative Mike Kernell, has pulled a petition to run for Seat 13 on the Shelby County School Board, but, as earlier indicated in this space, the Shelby County Commission has voted for a 9-member district for the School Board, and U.S. District Judge Hardy Mays, who had previously approved the 13-member format, will have to rule on the Commission’s revised request.
—State Senator Jim Kyle is one of two filees so far in a field of 11 people, none of them with prominent public profiles, who have drawn petitions for Chancellor, Part 1, an open seat. The other filee is Ken Besser.
Other judicial seats for which more than one candidate have filed include:
—Circuit Court,l Division 2: Kevin E. Reed vs.incumbent Judge James Russell
—Circuit Court, Division 1: Michael J. Floyd vs. incumbent. Judge Paula Skahan
—Criminal Court, Division 5: Mozella T. Ross vs. incumbent Judge. Jim Lammey
—General Sessions, Civil Division 2: Myra Hamilton vs. Phyllis Gardner
—General Sessions, Civil Division 3: Myra Hamilton, listed as filing here, too, vs. incumbent Judge John Donald
—General Sessions, Criminal Division 11: Former judge Michelle Alexander-Best vs.incumbent Karen Massey
With more than a month left to go before the April filing deadline, all the judicial positions should be considered highly fluid, with more filings expected.