Legislative Races: The Weekend Saw Some Challengers on the Move. 

Yes, Tim Cook has had his name on the ballot before, as a Republican candidate for state representative from District 93, a center-east Memphis locale where the incumbent as before (as for the last few decades, for that matter) is Democrat Mike Kernell. And Cook's name is there again.

So why is his name also on the ballot for District 91, a contiguous area just below District 91 and now represented, also for the last several decades, by Democrat Lois DeBerry, Speaker Pro Tem of the state House?

The answer, of course, is that, for one of the few times ever, a father and son are running for the legislature, simultaneously and in the aforesaid next-door districts. Tim Cook Sr. is on the ballot as "Tim Cook," while Tim Cook Jr. is on as "Timothy Edward Cook Jr."

Both were the beneficiaries Saturday of a modestly priced picnic fund-raiser at Kirby Farms, where they voiced some of their concerns -- runaway taxes and the alleged inaccessibility of the incumbents, in both cases. Tim Cook Sr. also has a strong interest in legislation to promote diesel fuel and to remove restrictions on it so as to lower its price. He sees that as one way of dealing with the current energy crisis.

Since Kernell has turned away an endless series of challengers, both in primary and in general elections, over the years, and DeBerry is one of the most influential figures in the legislature, both Cooks may be hard put to find a recipe for victory.

  • The names of Eddie Neal and Jennings Bernard are familiar to local voters, too. Bernard, a long-time activist and part-time broadcaster, has hazarded a race or two before his present one for state House District , while Neal served briefly last year as an interim state representative. He was appointed by the county commission to succeed Henri Brooks, now a Shelby County commissioner, in District 92 (central Memphis).

    Now Bernard seeks to oust Karen Camper, herself an interim appointee who seeks a regular term in District 87 (South-Central Memphis, Whitehaven, Oakville). And Neal seeks to regain the District 92 seat from G.A. Hardaway, who won it in a special general election last year.

    Both races may actually be in play. Neither Camper nor Hardaway has had a full opportunity to become ensconced as an incumbent, though each can boast respectable support. Neal and Bernard are mutually supportive of each other’s efforts, and each has support from Brooks, who turned up at a kickoff event for Neal on Saturday at his Hickory Hill headquarters.

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