Friday, May 30, 2014

Come to the Cohen For Congress Campaign Headquarters Opening Tomorrow!

Come to the Cohen For Congress
 Campaign Headquarters Opening Tomorrow!

You are invited to the Grand Opening of the Cohen for Congress Campaign Headquarters at 2622 Poplar Avenue tomorrow at 11:00 AMThe latest weather report says the rain will likely not start until after the opening, but we will be here rain or shine.

Join Congressman Steve Cohen as he officially kicks off his re-election campaign in the Democratic Primary for Tennessee's 9th Congressional District.

We will have food, entertainment, free bumper stickers and yard signs, and the Limited Edition Cohen for Congress "Buttons" t-shirts for sale.

So bring your family, bring your friends, and join us as we celebrate another successful election season!

WHEN: TomorrowMay 31st, 11:00 AM 
WHERE: Cohen for Congress Campaign Headquarters, 2622 Poplar Avenue (Click here for a map)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Germantown Democrats are BUSY these next two weeks!

As befitting their status as the LARGEST Democratic club in the state of Tennessee (and how sweet is it that they are primarily in east Shelby County??)  The GDC has TWO events coming up over the next 10 days.

First, tomorrow:

May 28, 2014

The Germantown Democratic Club will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 28 at Coletta’s Restaurant, 2850 Appling Road.

John McKamey,* a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor, will be the guest speaker.  Mr. McKamey’s background includes a career as an educator and athletics coach, service as a  county commissioner and mayor, as well as leadership rolls in many community organizations. Take this opportunity to come meet this Democrat from Sullivan County in Northeast Tennessee.

Club meetings are open to all who are interested and visitors are always welcome.  For additional information, contact Club president, Dick Klenz, at 756-4165.  You can visit the Germantown Democratic Club online at

*To learn more about Mr. McKamey,  go to his website,

Then, next Monday and Tuesday:

Monday, May 19, 2014

SCYD organizational meeting TUESDAY NIGHT at Main Library

Dear Young Democrat,

We, the Young Democrats of Shelby County, Tennessee, strive to engage young people of Shelby County in the political process. The purpose of this organization is to encourage active citizen interest in the Democratic Party, governmental affairs, community activism, and to acquire practical political experience.

Shelby County is excited to announce the reestablishment of Young Democrats Shelby County!

We are holding our first meeting this Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at the Benjamin L. Hooks Library (3030 Poplar Ave.) at 6 pm. We look forward to meeting you and expressing our thoughts and ideas of where the Young Democrats Shelby County can go. We will discuss Executive Board nominations and elections, upcoming events, and how we as Young Democrats can make an impact in this year's Elections.

In addition to this Tuesday's meeting, we are scheduling a tentative general body meeting for Thursday June 5 at 6 pm. Again, we hope to see you Tuesday and thank you so much for your hard work and dedication to our communities!

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact
London Lamar: 901-628-6015 or
Regina Beale: 901-747-8892

Warm Regards,

London Lamar
Chair, Young Democrats Shelby County 
Copyright © 2014 Young Democrats of Shelby County, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you have made contact with a representative from Young Democrats Shelby County.

Our mailing address is:
Young Democrats of Shelby County
917 S. Cooper St.
Memphis, TN 38104

Add us to your address book

Monday, May 12, 2014

What Steve Ross Said, Vol. MCMXI

Our beloved VIBINC nails the situation that Democrats face in the upcoming County General Election as only he can:
1. Primary Voters – Which primary ballots voters choose will be important, but not necessarily 100% instructive. County voters don’t see a large partisan divide in most county-wide races. Candidates that have tried to “reach across the aisle” have been generally successful county-wide.
4. Contact Matters – In 2010, only two Democratic candidates sent a mailer to my home. Two. No one in this house has ever voted in a GOP primary…ever. Yet I received three to four mailers from Mark Luttrell. So did most of my neighbors. My precinct is a 60-40 Democratic split in November, but in August, when the candidates are not as well known, it can shift. The lesson: don’t depend on partisanship winning out over courtship. If you don’t contact your voters, don’t expect them to vote for you. (It should be noted, the two that did send mailers to my precinct, won the precinct 60/40 as expected.)
5. Turnout, turnout, turnout – Lower turnout doesn’t help County Democratic candidates – Over a whole bunch of August elections, a pretty specific number range of GOP voters that is consistent. I’ve talked to local Democratic groups about this number…but won’t reveal it here (its a state secret). That doesn’t account for crossover voting, which will happen. With over 300k in his coffers, GOP nominee Luttrell has the means to push turnout in traditionally GOP areas and appeal to ticket splitters. Democrats be warned. You will need to work hard and together to whip up turnout against the deep pockets of GOP incumbents.
6. Proficiency vs. partisanship – Go back to #1 and read that again. For County-wide candidates, your job is to reach out beyond your comfort zones, and show voters that you are as, or more proficient at the office you seek than your opponent. Those ticket splitters are looking for confidence of competence more than the letter next to your name. The lack of a clearly defined partisan difference in many races (what’s the difference between a Democratic Court Clerk and a Republican one?) is part of the cause here, especially in races where key social/fiscal issues of the day may not be relevant. 

You just need to go read ALL of it.

This has been another edition of WHAT STEVE ROSS SAID.

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.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

How I Am Voting In The Primary, or I Get In Trouble Yet Again


Well, this is the first time that I have A) been a blogger and B) served on the SCDP ExecCom.  Because of the latter fact, allow me to say that I will faithfully support all Democratic nominees, whether I voted for them or not, and let me swear on the souls of my grandchildren, that I will not break the peace we've made here today.

Oops, wrong film.  I digress.

County Mayor - Deidre Malone, for all the reasons, go here.

County Commission, District 10 - Reginald Milton, for all the reasons, go here.

Assessor - Cheyenne Johnson is an 8-year incumbent with an impeccable record of service to this county, and I see no reason to vote for anyone else.

Trustee - Derrick Bennett ran four years ago as an Independent for this office, he is running this year as a Democrat.  He gets the edge here over Latroy Williams.

Sheriff - Bennie Cobb is unopposed in the primary and will face the incumbent Bill Oldham in August.

Circuit Court Clerk - I have no idea who Rhonda Banks is.  I have known Del Gill for more years than I can count.  Del was the head of the civil division of the General Sessions Court Clerk under Otis Jackson.  Your call, people.

Criminal Court Clerk - Without question, the best set of candidates in any of these races, and it was VERY difficult for me to choose.  I have a very high regard for all of the candidates, who have well-thought out ideas for how the office, and the whole criminal court system, should be run.  At least two of the candidates, Wanda Halbert (at-large MCS Board before becoming District 4 Councilor) and Thomas Long (19-year incumbent City Court Clerk) understand how to win citywide, because they have done it.  Long's record of service has been exemplary.

However, the one person in the race who has been inside the system has the best chance, to me, of fixing it, and that's Michael R. McCusker.  I believe Long or Halbert could win countywide, but I think McCusker gives us the best chance to win, so I am voting for him.

Juvenile Court Clerk - There is no question that without the relentless efforts of County Commissioner Henri Brooks, the problems of Juvenile Court would never have been brought to light and JC would never have been forced to address its' internal problems.  We all owe her a deep gratitude for her efforts.

That said, it's one thing to bring attention to problems; it's quite another to implement solutions.  That requires, in my mind, a different skill-set, one of consensus-building and coordination with all the parties involved.  Commissioner Brooks has always been a lightning rod whether on the Commission or in the State House, not always justifiably, but enough that it gives pause as to whether she is the person who can effect the necessary changes.

For that reason, I am voting for Ken Moody, a veteran of city government who can work with all the necessary parties to help move Juvenile Court in the direction it needs to serve ALL segments of the community.

Probate Court Clerk - Of all the candidates in this race, only ONE is an attorney, which I find to be odd.  Regina Beale is making her first race at the age of 25, let's hope it's not the last, as we need more young people involved.  However, at the end of the day, there are only two candidates who have a real chance of unseating incumbent Paul Boyd.

Heidi Kuhn is a 15-year veteran of County Government and knows her way around it, and presents a good campaign.  Aaron Hall, however, is a probate attorney and understands the office backwards and forwards.  He can run this office because, after hearing him speak, you know that he knows what to do and presents an air of confidence that he can hit the ground running and make the changes necessary to run it better.  I am voting for Aaron Hall.

County ClerkJohn H. Freeman has been my friend for over 30 years.  He is a veteran of County government and has worked closely with both Mayor Wharton and Mayor Luttrell and knows how to get things done.  John has ideas for expanding the Clerk's office to bringing it closer to the public it serves, making government work for YOU.  He has the experience, the knowhow, and the ability to make the County Clerk's office run more effectively than ever before and he will be outstanding, and I urge you to vote for John H. Freeman.

Register of Deeds  - Stephen Christian is a nice young man who is earnest and sincere, and I hope that he continues to be involved in Democratic politics,  That said, I see no reason to deny Coleman Thompson a third nomination to attempt to unseat the veteran Tom Leatherwood.  I have worked with Coleman on Democratic races for years and know that he has the experience to make this run.

Now, here are a few recommendations for other County Commission races:

District 6 - Willie Brooks

District 7 - incumbent Melvin Burgess

District 8 - Walter Bailey's last race may well be his toughest, against former City Councilor Berlin Boyd and David Vinciarelli.  Boyd is going hammer-and-tong after the veteran Bailey, who has said that if he is re-elected, he will not run in 2018.  In what promises to be a Commission with a lot of new faces, Bailey's institutional memory will be necessary for the Democrats on the Commission, so my choice is Walter Bailey.

District 9 -  Commissioner Justin Ford, the most inconsistent of the incumbent Democrats, faces the fight of his life after having South Memphis taken from him in redistricting.  While you can never count out anyone named Ford in a Democratic primary, he is fighting former MCS Board member Patrice Robinson and Memphis Education Association President Keith Williams on their home turf in Whitehaven.  Ford has attacked Robinson for her vote to surrender the MCS Charter, one that I personally believe was necessary to prevent its defunding.

Ford's voting record on Democratic issues has been unreliable, and he is too ambitious by half, floating a possible run for Congress in two years.  I think his days on the Commission should end, and I support Patrice Robinson for this seat.

District 11 - No recommendation.

District 12 -  I eagerly endorse attorney and former SCDP Chair Van Turner for this office.  I know him and support him and believe he will be a tireless worker for the people of this district.

As always, your mileage may vary, so do your research as I did and see what you think.  Early voting is going on downtown now, with the satellites opening on Friday and running through 7 PM on May 1.