I like that term, and intend on using it myself, with all due credit, of course. I have decided to offer my views on this race, and handicap it for each candidate based on the prospect that NONE of them may drop out, creating a train-wreck of epic proportions.
As always, I must remind you that these odds are for the SOLE purpose of entertaining you, my beloved readers. Of course, wagering based on these odds is expressly prohibited by the laws of this great state of Tennessee.
Now, by partisan category in alphabetical order (last name), even though this is a (wink-wink, nod-nod) NON-PARTISAN race.
NON-PARTISAN (OR, I DON'T KNOW WHERE IN THE HELL THEY FIT)
Jimmy Ogle - 150-1 - This former Park Commission head and one-time manager of Mud Island (IIRC) has been known more recently in his job with the Ericson Group, who wanted to bid on Mud Island, but was stopped by Lipscomb and his BPS-centric pals. Well-liked in the community, but I'm not sure that this really translates into votes. This isn't personal, Jimmy, it's just business.
Richard Stringer - 150-1 - He is a two-time loser in 1991 and 1995 races for District 2, and this retired businessman can indulge himself, but does he have the money and/or backing to make showing here? I think not.
Kemp Conrad - 6-5 - He is the closest thing to a early favorite that we have here. He lost last year to Shea Flinn for another SD9 position, and he lost because everyone else in the race, including Democrat Flinn, took away from his base. He was besieged on all sides by Republicans Joe "MemphisWatchdog" Saino and Joseph Bair, as well as Goopers friendly with George S. Flinn, the Republican County Commissioner. From a practical standpoint, I thought he was a good GOP Chair, however, others disagree (more later). Undoubtedly, he will be business-friendly on the Council should he win, and probably the most conservative. Right now, he's at the top of the heap if no one gets out.
Lester Lit - 50-1 - I love Lester; hell, who DOESN'T? He is the owner of the city's premiere restaurant supply house, and he has a winning personality, money to burn and a true desire to help the community. Story from last year: when I went to early-vote, I saw my friend and candidate Desi Franklin and hugged her. Lester then said, "what, I don't get a hug?" Of course you do, Lester, so I hugged him, and then watched as he told voters to vote for him, but if they couldn't, to vote for Desi, and if not her, then Mary Wilder. His problem is that he needs a one-on-one race with someone, and this isn't it. He is tied with Stephens as my third choice for voting, more on that later.
Brian Stephens - 5-2 - Stephens busted his ass last year and ran a very solid campaign for District 2. However, Bill Boyd once again proved that old age and cunning beats youth and exuberance, especially in a low-turnout runoff. Stephens has supporters on both sides from Paul Stanley to Democrats whom I won't name at this time. I like him, and he wants to win and will do what it takes to win, within ethical reason.
The John Willingham Experience™* - 1000-1 - The erstwhile County Commissioner and losing mayoral candidate is, frankly, on a political murder-suicide pact in which he intends to take down Kemp Conrad. In short, methinks he is embarking on a rat-fuck of the highest order. As Vibinc noted, we listened to him tell Bill Dries of the Daily News what a crappy GOP Chair Conrad had been and that he led the Party to loss after loss. Shortly after this, I looked up to see Conrad, whose ears clearly had been burning, show up at the opposite end of the hallway. This is going to be FUN.
* - Property of VIBINC!
Arnett Montague III - 75-1 - Why the surprisingly low odds for a rookie with no prior electoral experience? Well, here's a story. He filed yesterday, but didn't have enough valid signatures. Well, his grandfather Arnett Montague Sr. (whom I have since learned was a close friend of the legendary African-American political operative JP "Speedy" Murrell) went out, got enough valid signatures and got them in in time to get his grandson on the ballot. With Grandpa's help, young Mr. Montague may pull enough A-A votes that 2Shay Parkinson may have to work harder than expected.
Regina Morrison Newman - 9-5 - Full disclosure: once Steve Ross (VIBINC) decided not to run, I got behind Regina and will support her if she stays in. We go back thir- er, well, a LOT of years in Democratic politics, and I trust her judgment. I supported her for Judge two years ago, and she can pull support from ALL areas of the city, regardless of race, gender, color, economic class. One on one against Conrad, she'd crush him like a grape. With a stacked field, it's going to be tougher for her.
Antonio "2Shay" Parkinson - 8-5 - Although he lost a race last year for the District 1 seat now held by Bill Morrison, 2Shay has busted his butt building his name in Frayser, starting a civic club and working to reduce gang violence. The district, which is technically the "white" SuperDistrict, is still roughly 30% African-American, and it is obvious Parkinson is counting on A) a monolithic black turnout with Barack Obama at the top of the ticket and B) his being the only well-known African-American candidate. However, with Young Mr. Montague's grandfather and the connections of other candidates aligned with the Democratic Party, he may not get as high of a percentage as he expects. His candidacy is still one to watch.
Paul Shaffer - 9-5 - In the event Newman gets out (which I am hoping AGAINST), my support goes immediately to Paul, the longtime business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Frankly, there's not a Democratic elected official in this county that doesn't owe Paul and his union; hell, the SCDP has been meeting there for more years than I can remember. His only race to this point was a losing race for the Charter Commission in 2006, but he knows what it takes to run in a situation like this. I'm surprised he hasn't run for this before; he would be a terrific Councilor.
Mary Wilder - 3-1 - I have to confess, she supposedly helped Carol Chumney for years like I have, but I can't remember her. She is a neighborhood leader in Vollintine-Evergreen, but, aside from that, I can't really tell you anything she's done, other than cost Desi Franklin a seat on the City Council. Now, we can sit here all day long and argue the hows and whys of that candidacy, but let's face it, the ultimate effect of her candidacy last year was to ensure the election of GOP-leaning Reid Hedgepeth. All I'm going to say about her is that I almost would vote for Conrad before I would vote for her. And, to quote myself from Vibinc's post earlier today:
I have heard through the grapevine that Wilder believes it's HER turn now. I suspect she is more alone in that assessment than she realizes. With Shaffer in, there goes her labor support. With 2Shay in, there goes her African-American support. With Regina Newman in the race, there goes her female support. What's she got left?I rest my case, flame away.