Wednesday, July 30, 2014
I think the 9th District race ended yesterday, for all intents and purposes
Those supporters of Ricky Wilkins had to KNOW that it would be an uphill battle to unseat a very popular incumbent in Steve Cohen, if they were paying attention and if they were honest with themselves.
Until yesterday, I thought that Wilkins' campaign was superior to those of the prior campaigns run to oust the Congressman, as they had avoided mistakes made by their predecessors. Then, Ricky Wilkins stood OUTSIDE the doors if AFSCME Local 1733, claiming an endorsement that had yet to be awarded, according to the President of the local, who advised the press that the membership had yet to vote. In doing so, he looked foolish and desperate.
Part of this, it appears falls on the Union local itself. Someone in their leadership had apparently told Congressman Cohen that HE would be the recipient of their endorsement, and he announced that in an earlier press release, which Wilkins then disputed.
If AFSCME is no better organized than that, I feel for their workers. The Congressman has been around long enough to know when he is getting good information, and correctly called the union leadership upon hearing of Wilkins' comments.
At this point, regardless of whom they endorse, you have to wonder how much it will be worth, given how this process has been botched. This would never have happened when James Smith was around, believe that. I suspect our Congressman, once this is over, will make his feelings known about the situation to the union's national leadership, which won't bode well for the Memphis organization.
As for Wilkins, if it is true, as has been suggested to me, that he is now listening to advice from that noted media personality Thaddeus Matthews, it is now possible to suggest that perhaps the Congressman's fight for renomination is done. He could head for the coast and rest before the November election and still win handily. Also, if Wilkins is really listening to Matthews, he won't even be our NEXT Congressman when Cohen decides to retire. I really hope for Wilkins' sake that this is not true; the only people who listen to Matthews are the unlikeliest voters of all.
Now, to another matter. As you know, 999 times out of 1000, if my Congressman, Steve Cohen, asks me to do something, I want to do it, because I agree with him at about that rate. He actually did something this week with which I will take issue, regarding a local State Executive Committee race.
In Senate District 31, which stretches east from my Humes Heights neighborhood to Cordova and Germantown, two of my longtime friends, Dwayne Thompson and David Upton, are battling it out. Upton, who has taken a more active role in the Congressman's campaign this year, was endorsed for the seat by Congressman Cohen over Thompson, who won four years ago, unseating Joe Weinberg.
David Upton sat on that body from Senate 30 until four years ago, when he was surprisingly voted out by Democrats for Kevin Gallagher, who never really campaigned. Upton has been involved at the state level for a while, and I get that he wants back on the state committee.
Meanwhile, Dwayne voted for Roy Herron for TNDP Chair, which I didn't agree with but I understood his logic and reasoning for doing so. Fortunately, Roy had the good sense to hire Alan Secrest as Executive Director, which stabilized the state party. Full disclosure: I was recruited by Chip Forrester to run for this office; since Dwayne is one of my oldest friends, I declined to do so.
So, you may ask, why do I care, since both are my friends and both are qualified to sit on that committee?
Dwayne has lived in that district for almost 20 years and has a good understanding of the politics of that area. David, to my knowledge, has not lived outside the Parkways; while I would seek his opinion on anything Midtown or Downtown, I think Dwayne knows our area better. Dwayne, I must add, is also running for State Representative in District 96 (Cordova), and his victory there this fall would be a flaming spear in the heart of Republicanland. I want him to have both titles.
Look, I get that my friend and Congressman wants to stand with those who stand with him; while Dwayne has always supported the Congressman, Upton has taken on a bigger role this year. I believe, however, that Dwayne has earned re-election to this post and I am asking you District 31 voters to stay with him with your vote.
If David were running in the district in which he lives, I would undoubtedly ask you to vote for him. He is not, and I am not.
One final humorous and ironic note here: because of the same law that allowed John Ford to represent Senate 29 in Western Shelby County but live in Collierville, what David is doing IS legal, believe it or not. You all know that the laws regarding residency for County Commission are as unclear in their own way as the state laws, which is why Commissioner Henri Brooks is fighting to stay in her seat until the end of the term.
Looking to provide a process with clarity to deal with such situations, Commissioner Steve Mulroy has led the fight to create such a process and further define residential eligibility, for which he is to be lauded. He has also decided to help the manager of his County Mayor's campaign by recording robocalls that declare Mulroy's support for his friend.
That campaign manager and friend? David Upton, the guy who doesn't live in the district.
Gotta love it.