Friday, January 24, 2014

WHALUM! Stirs the pot, enters Democratic race for County Mayor

I wondered what was up a few days ago when the Reverend Kenneth Whalum Jr of the New Olivet Baptist Church announced on Facebook that he had informed presumed Democratic frontrunner Deidre Malone that he could not support her candidacy.   Given that, to that point, her only challenger for the nomination was County Commission Chair James Harvey, who had soiled himself among Democratic activists by giving his votes to the GOP in return for their Chair votes, so things looked rather good for her, primarywise.

I knew that the Reverend was not pleased with Deidre for her support of the Memphis Pre-K Initiative, which Whalum busted his butt to defeat at the polls.  He took the very poor campaign of the Initiative, used free media brilliantly to overcome a heavily-financed campaign.  He is also no stranger to elective office, having served on the MCS Board and arguably had re-election taken from him due to, at the very least, ineptitude of the Shelby County Election Commission.

So, he knows how to run for office, he knows how to marshal support and he knows how to get free media, not even counting his every-Friday-morning appearance on Drake & Zeke on 98.1 The Max.  So, does he have a chance to win?  Yes.  Will he win?  Well, let's see how this plays out.

This battle is going to be fought in a May 6 County Primary, which is traditionally one of the lowest-turnout events that we have in this County.  With that in mind, if you are a candidate, your job is to A) find YOUR voters, B) get them out to vote for you, while C) NOT waking up your opponent(s)' voters so that they go out and vote for THEIR candidate.  Tricky?  Yes.  While I have no doubt Reverend Whalum can pull off A and B, C may be more difficult, as he is not subtle and is good at stirring things up, which is not a bad thing at all, usually.

I do not think Harvey has that much of a chance, as the story of his election to the Chairmanship is made known to the Democratic electorate.  The would-be coronation of Deidre Malone has been put on hold for now, and she has to wonder how this keeps happening.  She was the pre-emptive favorite to win the primary four years ago until Joe Ford stunningly was named interim Mayor of the County.  When Joe decided to run for re-election,  his name still had enough clout in a Democratic Primary to knock off the outgoing Commissioner Malone.

This race just got real interesting real quick. It's time for everyone who supports these candidates to crank it up NOW!