Friday, December 23, 2011

Blood Feud? Or: The Art of Shelby County Redistricting (Cont'd)

Posted By on Fri, Dec 23, 2011 at 12:28 AM

Commissioner Terry Roland
  • JB
  • Commissioner Terry Roland
In 2005 Democrat Ophelia Ford of Memphis edged out Republican Terry Roland of suburban Millington in a special election for the Shelby County state Senate seat vacated by Ford’s brother John Ford, convicted in the Tennessee Waltz scandal. Subsequently Ford was forced to vacate the seat and to run again for it when an investigation demanded by Roland turned up evidence that votes had been cast by felons and in the names of deceased individuals.

Ford would beat Roland in the 2006 re-run, but bad feeling remains. Roland, now a Shelby County Commissioner, clashed this week with Senator Ford’s nephew Justin Ford, also a Commissioner, over rival plans for redistricting, with Roland saying at one point, “I don’t need a Ford to tell me how to lead. I’ve been in that boat before, and I’ve got the T-shirt to prove it. You know what I’m saying?”

Demonstrating that he knew full well, Ford promptly re-drew his version of a re-districting plan, one of two which remains under consideration. The only apparent change is a modest adjustment in district lines which shifts Roland’s residence from a proposed majority-white suburban district into a majority-black inner-city district.

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