Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Observations on the Election

It's a great day to be a Democrat in Shelby County, folks.

While I realize the GOP had few contested primary races (that happens when you have a lot of incumbents) and that is the major reason that Democrats outvoted Republicans 2-1, it still gives hope for Democrats this August.

My beautiful bride, Susan, and I spent the evening at Deidre Malone's victory party, wearing out my phone checking results on the MyFoxMemphis site, which had the faster numbers all night.

Before I go too far, a HUGE round of applause needs to go to Steve Ross at Vibinc for covering the election all day with the use of Storify and to the CA's Kyle Veazey with his ELECTION LIVE  coverage with the use of an even newer system, ScribbleLive.  Both worked beautifully with social media to give a sense of Election Day coverage for the 21st Century.  Kudos to you both, gentlemen.

Looking at the Election Day splits in the County Mayor's race, Deidre built a lead with her Early Voting strategy, and it was a lead from which the other candidates, particularly Steve Mulroy, could not recover.  Mulroy had a good Election Day strategy, as he took more votes yesterday than the others, but it was not enough.  Whalum went out of the country for 10 days in the last two weeks of the campaign, and it hurt him not at all, apparently.

In his always-insightful analysis, Jackson Baker today notes that endorsements may not have made that much difference:

Endorsements? Hard to see a pattern there. Judge Joe Brown, the de facto Democratic nominee for District Attorney General, was thought early on the have more than usual clout, but none of his endorsees came out ahead. A C Wharton? Certainly , the mayor’s endorsement of Malone, as indicated, helped, but his full-out support of John Freeman in the Democratic primary for County Clerk still left Freeman finishing third. In the Democratic primary for Mayor, Steve Mulroy made a clean sweep of the union endorsements, but he, too, finished third.

Once we see precinct breakdowns, then we will get more knowledge about the actual flow of the race.

While at Deidre's event, 9th District challenger Ricky Wilkins came by our table to re-introduce himself, and revealed himself to be a reader of this blog, which is always appreciated, and to note that while he didn't always agree with my conclusions, he enjoyed reading it.  I replied that I thought he was running a far smarter campaign that his predecessors, which he is.  I suspect he will do better than Nikki Tinker, Mayor Herenton or Tomeka Hart, but given that my friend and Congressman Steve Cohen takes EVERY challenge seriously, even that of Charlotte Bergmann, I have doubts that Wilkins can unseat the Congressman.

Now, to the other races.

Holy crap, what a race in County Commission District 10 between Reginald Milton and former MCS Commissioner Martavius Jones, which flipped back and forth literally as EVERY PRECINCT reported, with Milton edging Jones by a scant 26 votes. One wonders if Jones will ask for a recount; no one should be upset if he does. Way, way back in third was Jake Brown, to the surprise of absolutely no one. He and his signs were everywhere, but it didn't seem to make that much difference.

In District 9, incumbent Justin Ford was re-nominated, in all probability, due to that Ford name and the fact that his two opponents, Patrice Robinson and Keith Williams, split the opposition votes in two.  Had one of them gotten out of the race, I suspect the young and ambitious Ford would be on the outside looking in this morning.

District 11 was a win for veteran Eddie Jones, and he is the favorite to win in August.

Willie Brooks easily won as expected in District 6, and we are pleased with this outcome.

Also good news for all Shelby Countians is that former SCDP Chair Van Turner won a resounding victory over Bryant Boone in the District 12 race.  He will be outstanding in that job.

Now, for the clerkships and other offices:

Who is William Chism, Jr.?????  Well, the short answer is that he is now the Democratic nominee for Probate Court Clerk against incumbent Paul Boyd, the winner despite a fine race from first-timer Regina Beale and surprisingly low numbers from expected frontrunner Heidi Kuhn and probate attorney Aaron Hall.
Susan asked the question that I think a lot of people were asking about this race: "Do you think people thought they were voting for Sidney Chism??"  Helluva question, babe, I suspect you are closer to the mark than anyone else.

Cheyenne Johnson easily won renomination as County Assessor as expected and will face Republican Keith Alexander in August.

Derrick Bennett, CPA (which is what his yard signs said) narrowly defeated Latroy Williams and will take on incumbent David Lenoir in August.

Bennie Cobb was unopposed in the Democratic race for Sheriff, and he goes up against incumbent Bill Oldham, who got unexpected support from members of the Tennessee Equality Project for Oldham's work on LGBT issues.

Unknown Rhonda Banks thoroughly smacked well-known activist Del Gill in the Democratic race for Circuit Court Clerk by a more than 2-1 margin.  She faces an uphill battle against longtime incumbent (with plenty of bipartisan support) Jimmy Moore.

I openly apologize to Wanda Halbert for doing what so many people have done, to their own peril, underestimating her.  She kicked butt, took names and spelled them wrong in winning a huge victory in the Criminal Court Clerk's race over veteran City Court Clerk Thomas Long and several others, including Mike McClusker, who came in at the bottom despite a very active campaign.  You would be making a HUGE mistake in counting her out against GOP rookie Richard DeSaussure, the current CAO of the office.  I am picking her to win this race now, because she can campaign anywhere, anytime.

In the Juvenile Court Clerk race to face Joy Touliatos in August, outgoing County Commissioner Henri Brooks easily defeated Ken Moody.  Brooks, whose efforts were primarily responsible for the Department of Justice reforms at JC, will look to win so that these changes can be strengthened.

Charlotte Draper narrowly defeated first-timer Yolanda Kight in the County Clerk race, with veteran activist John Freeman coming in third.  She will oppose incumbent Wayne Mashburn in August.


Half Empty said...

Steve, I think the story of the Dem primary is in the demographics: African American women determined the outcome of these races. Look at the outcome in many of the races where there was not a Democratic incumbent: Deidre Malone, Henri Brooks, Wanda Halbert, Rhonda Banks. The theory does not hold 100% - look at the probate court clerk race - but then again, look at how well Regina Beale did - 25 years old and no experience! So...the lesson to be learned (for candidates): ignore this voting bloc at your own peril.

unknown said...

While I am a HUGE Milton supporter and hope his win stands, I find it interesting and perhaps telling - of what I am not sure - that Jones came SO close to a win over Milton. Other than the "coupons" mailer, I just didn't see much evidence of Jones mounting a campaign. Some think his work as School Board member toward dissolving City Schools might have earned him votes. Since women voted in higher numbers, have to wonder if that got him a lot of votes. Your thoughts?

Steve Steffens said...

Half Empty, spot on about the female vote. It amazes me that we have never ELECTED a woman to an executive position in the city or county.

Unknown, I think the surrender issue is a wash, it cost him votes in South Memphis and won him votes in Midtown. I think his name recognition helped him with low-information voters, as well as the coupons in his flyers, which I still can't believe is legal. :-)