Friday, June 6, 2003



Posted By on Fri, Jun 6, 2003 at 4:00 AM

“Effective. Ethical. Electable.” That’s what the man said. Shelby County Republican chair R. Kemp Conrad identified those as the qualities he and the local GOP steering committee were looking for in deciding which city council candidates to endorse in this year’s Memphis municipal election.. On Thursday night, when the full committee ratified recommendations by a candidate-recruitment subcommittee in two council races, the list of endorsees considered worthy of the three’E’s also grew to three. Wyatt Bunker in the District 1 council race and Scott McCormick in that for Super-District 9, Positon 1 joined busnessman/physician George Flinn, previously chosen in District 5, as official Republican endorsees. Only member David Shirley, a maverick during his days in the state legislature, demurred from the unanimous committee vote for Bunker and McCormick, Conrad noted after the meeting. Bunker, a member of the county school board from recently annexed Countrywood, seeks to unseat incumbent councilman E.C. Jones, while businessman McCormick competes in a field including longtime incumbent Pat VanderSchaaf. Meanwhile, the county’s Democrats, whose executive committee also met on Thursday night, took the first steps toward resolving a factional dispute that has bedeviled the party for the last several months -- unanimously voting to abolish (as unnecessary) a newly created “reconciliation” committee on the motion of committee member Nate Jackson, a partisan of former chairman Gale Jones Carson, who lost a 21-20 vote last month to State Representative Kathryn Bowers, the party’s new chair. Jackson also suggested that the committee rethink Bowers’ earlier opinion that the party should not follow the GOP’s leading in making candidate endorsements. “I’m not moving that yet,” Jackson carefully specified, “but I want us to think about it.” He himself wore a sticker touting District 5 candidate Jim Strickland, one of three well-known Democrats -- the others being State Rep. Carol Chumney and veteran pol Joe Cooper -- in the District 5 race. For the most part, the committee Democrats -- who have had several stormy disagreements of late - managed to get along with reasonable ease. The evening’s major news came in a recommendation from a committee appointed by Bowers that the party somehow raise $135,000 from which to rent a permanent headquarters and hire a staff. (Nobody suggested the obvious solution: Continue the internecine fights that have recently characterized the committee’s meetings and sell tickets to them.)

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