Tuesday, April 9, 2002



Posted By on Tue, Apr 9, 2002 at 4:00 AM

One feature of the current county election which has so far gone unreported and almost unnoticed (though, like the “Purloined Letter” in the Poe tale, it is right before the eye) is this: Whichever major party holds dominance on the Shelby County Commisson after the August 1st general election, one fact will not change; whites will hold a 7-6 majority of the membership. This is despite the demographic changes which, as reflected in the 2000 census and subsequent population estimates, suggest that African Americans have become a majority of county residents. As several candidates have noted, and, as John Ryder, a Republican candidate to represent the 5th commission district (East Memphis), keeps pointing out: Dsitricts 1 through 4 are certain to produce an even balance of Democrats (black) and Republicans (white): six of each. The 5th District, which is unique in that it contains only one positon, will break the party stalemate, depending on whether a Democrat or a Republican wins it. But, although the ballot contains the names of an obscure black candidate or two, the only fully active contestants with realistic chances of winning the seat are white, whether Democratic or Republican in their party affiliation. For the GOP, there are Ryder, Bruce Thompson, and Jerry Cobb. The two major Democratic candidates are Guthrie Castle and Joe Cooper. Both nominees and the eventual winner are sure to come from this list of five men, all white. Only if one of the Democrats wins, however, will the virtually synonymous nature of the terms black and Democratic, on the one hand, and white and Republican, on the other, be suspended as descriptors for commission members and, for that matter, for Shelby County office-holders in general. SAY WHAT?:
  • County Commissioner Marilyn Loeffel, the only commission incumbent to be unopposed on the 2002 county ballot: “My daughter and I prayed that, with her wedding coming up this year, I wouldn’t have an opponent. The Lord granted our wish.”
  • District 4 (Outer Shelby) County Commission candidate D’Andre Forney, one of only two African Americans to seek the Republican nomination this year, as he faced an overwhelmingly white audience at a Shelby County Republican Women’s luncheon Monday: “I know what you’re thinking. [Pause] ‘He’s so young -- and good-looking!’”
  • Favorite


    Subscribe to this thread:

    Add a comment


    Speaking of School Consolidation


    Readers also liked…

    • Cohen Tells It!

      In which Memphis’ Democratic congressman Steve Cohen, addressing an apparent GOP effort to muddy the waters on the Russian inquiry, not only takes no crap but gives it back where it came from. This is worth watching from beginning to end -- even for those who might disagree on the politics of the matter.
      • Jul 26, 2017
    • Councilman Calls for Local Control, Wants Confederate Monuments Removed

      District 1's Bill Morrison challenges state law, says Memphians should have "right and power" over public monuments.
      • Aug 16, 2017
    • Bill Freeman, Likely Democratic Candidate for Governor, Headed Our Way

      Prominent Nashville businessman and party activist/donor will be featured speaker at local Democratic rally on November 3.
      • Oct 21, 2016

    Most Commented On

    • New Actions Against Ranked Choice Voting

      The City Council schedules a Tuesday discussion in executive session; also on Tuesday, a bill to prohibit RCV (aka Instant Runoff Voting) comes before a state Senate committee.
      • Feb 19, 2018
    • Tragedy in Nashville: Megan Barry's Fall

      A Flyer editorial concerns the case of Megan Barry, the Nashville Mayor with once-bright political prospects who was forced by a personal scandal to resign her office this week.
      • Mar 8, 2018
    • More »

    Top Commenters

    © 1996-2018

    Contemporary Media
    460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
    Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
    Powered by Foundation