Will he or won't he? That's a question that will be
answered one way or another on Monday by the Shelby County Commission....No,
strike that, it's several questions that will be answered any of several
different ways on Monday by the commission, which will name a successor to
former District 4 commissioner David Lillard, now the treasurer of the state of
Tennessee. (And there's a she or two who figure into the question, as well.)
(1) Will Steve Mulroy, the commission's Great Articulator, channel Profiles in Courage or play point guard for the Democratic majority that wants to overturn recent tradition and vote one of its own into an historical Republican seat? (Whichever course he takes, Mulroy is sure to enunciate it in terms that sound like part-Socratic dialogue and part Supreme-Court decision.)
All the applicants managed impressive moments in public interviews with the commission last week. Some of them, like contenders Kerley and Hart, pronounced themselves satisfied to be interim appointees, serving only until the next regularly scheduled countywide election in 2010. Others, like Kuhn, a former Democratic Party chairman whose father Brian is the current county attorney, haven't decided whether they'd be candidates in 2010; and still others have like Roland, who heartily announced to the other contenders, "I'm gonna run, and if you're gonna run, you better have your game on."
All are at least nominal Republicans except for Kuhn and Pakis-Gillon. All professed themselves willing to work across the aisle to achieve common results with members of the other party. On the eve of the voting, members of both parties were touting Kuhn as the likely winner. But other possibilities exist.
Since the GOP's Lillard has
already vacated his seat, the voting strength of the two parties is 7 to 5 in
favor of the Democrats. Though, as mentioned, Hart and Kerley are the
Republicans with the best chance of forestalling a Democratic win by these
numbers alone, some of the others could turn out to be long shots under
circumstances of prolonged balloting.