Tuesday, May 01, 2018


Early Voting starts on Wednesday, April 11 for the Democratic and GOP Primaries for the August general election.  Early voting locations and times can be found here.

As far as the County Commission races go, I vote in District 10, and my friend and incumbent Commissioner Reginald Milton is unopposed in the Primary, although he has a Terry Roland-supporting independent (who tried to run as a Democrat at first) in August.  It goes without saying that I support him.

As for the Countywide races, let's take them one at a time.

COUNTY MAYOR - This pits former County Commissioner, State Senator and SCDP Chair Sidney Chism against outgoing State Senator and former City Councilor Lee Harris.  While Chism has been around for years and has worked in County Government as a Commissioner and in the Sheriff's Department, if we are going to go for new blood in Democratic politics, Harris is the guy.  I believe that Lee Harris has the best chance to elect a Democratic County Mayor this year, and I am supporting him.  This is especially true if Terry Roland surprises everyone (but me) and wins the GOP Primary for Mayor.   I just don't believe that Chism can get crossover votes, and Harris can, while turning out our base in August.

ASSESSOR OF PROPERTY - Sadly, Cheyenne Johnson is term-limited out and cannot succeed herself.  That leaves outgoing County Commissioner Melvin Burgess and Lorie Ingram, who challenged Ms. Johnson in the primary 4 years ago, IIRC.   While Ms. Ingram has worked in that office (I do not know if she still does), Commissioner Burgess has (as I have been told privately) people from that office helping him to prepare for the job.  I think Melvin Burgess gives Democrats the best chance to win this office, so I am voting for him.

COUNTY TRUSTEE - This is an open seat, and three Democrats are seeking the office: Derrick Bennett, who has run before unsuccessfully, former MLGW executive Joseph Lee III and former Trustee Regina Morrison Newman, who was named in 2009 to succeed the late Paul Mattila.  She lost her bid for re-election in 2010 to current, outgoing Trustee David Lenoir.  Newman has actual time in the job and has received awards for her work as Trustee, and I believe she is the best candidate not only to turn out votes in August but to flip some GOP votes.  I am voting for Regina Morrison Newman.

SHERIFF - We have two Sheriff's Department veterans in this race, retired Deputy Bennie Cobb (our 2014 nominee) and current Chief Deputy Floyd Bonner, who has been endorsed by his outgoing boss, Sheriff Bill Oldham, a Republican.   They both make strong cases for themselves, but Bonner has 37 years in the department and the chance to flip GOP votes.  I am supporting Floyd Bonner.

CIRCUIT COURT CLERK - The race to succeed outgoing Clerk Jimmy Moore is between veteran Democratic activist (and former General Sessions Court Deputy Clerk) Del Gill and Temiika Gipson, who is a 25 year veteran of county offices such as  General Sessions Civil Court Clerk's office and currently working in the Criminal Court Clerk's office as a Court Coordinator.    I am voting for Temiika Gipson, as it is time for younger candidates to step up here.

CRIMINAL COURT CLERK-  Vying for the Democratic nod against GOP incumbent Richard DeSaussure are Carla Stotts Hills, Heidi Kuhn and Amanda Scott Hill.   Heidi Kuhn has over twenty years experience in County Government, working for the Commission and currently working in the Sheriff's Department.  She is a seasoned candidate and someone that I believe gives us the best chance to unseat DeSaussure.  I support Heidi Kuhn for Criminal Court Clerk.

JUVENILE COURT CLERK.  The three candidates on the Democratic side are Harold C. Smith, of whom I know very little, Morrie E. "Jimmy" Noel, of whom I know even less, and veteran City Councilor and legendary radio star Janis Fullilove.   Councilor Fullilove has been through a lot during her Council years, overcoming a very deep illness to return to her seat.   She clearly is the biggest draw here, and while I have concerns about her health, she remains the best candidate of the three and I will vote for Janis Fullilove for JV Court Clerk.

PROBATE COURT CLERK - outgoing City Councilor Bill Morrison is unopposed in the Primary and I will support him now and in August.

COUNTY CLERK - This is very tough for me.  The three Democratic candidates are former MCS Board Member and District 4 City Councilor Wanda Halbert, Jamal Whitlow, who is a former employee of the County Clerk's office and current job Developer for the Workforce Investment Network, and Mondell B. Williams.   Wanda Halbert has given more than just the 15 years of representative service in government to her community, she is loved and respected throughout this city.   However, Whitlow is part of the up and coming group of new candidates bringing new vitality to the Shelby County Democratic scene.    I have ALWAYS voted for Wanda Halbert when I had the opportunity, but Jamal Whitlow has made me look at this race carefully and differently.   In the toughest call I have had to make this year, I am going to vote for Jamal Whitlow for County Clerk in the Primary.

REGISTER OF DEEDS - This seat is being vacated by Republican vet Tom Leatherwood, and the Democratic race is between Shelandra Ford, a 20 year veteran of County Government,  and Democratic activist Adrienne Pakis-Gillon, who last ran in 2014 against State Senator Brian Kelsey.  Ok, I am all in for Adrienne, whom I have known for many years and for whom I have knocked on doors in Cordova in her last race.  I confess I do not know Ms. Ford, and I have linked to both of them, but I am voting for Adrienne Pakis-Gillon.

COUNTY COMMISSION DISTRICT 13.   Now, I don't have a vote here, but if I did it would be for George Monger over Charlie Belenky.   Monger was one of the youngest ever to run for City Council back in 2007 at the age of 18.  He has worked in the music business in many area, most notably for David Porter at MMT Consortium.  However, it is his work as a Shelby County Election Commissioner  (he was the youngest in history when named in 2011) and served two exciting years involved on the Technology and Operations Committee.  I am still not pleased that he was not renamed two years later.   I think he has an excellent chance to unseat incumbent Republican Steve Basar (if his primary opponent Brandon Morrison doesn't do it first).  I highly encourage you to vote for George Monger in District 13.

COUNTY COMMISSION DISTRICT 7 - Nope, not going there, no recommendations, I don't have a vote there and I am staying out of it completely.  Your call.

The following seats only have one Democratic candidate, but vote for them any way if you live in these Districts:

DISTRICT 1 - J. Racquel Collins

DISTRICT 2 - Tom Carpenter

DISTRICT 3 - Monica Timmerman

DISTRICT 4- Kevin Haley

DISTRICT 6 - Incumbent Commissioner Willie Brooks

DISTRICT 12 - Incumbent Commissioner Van Turner

Now, back to the contested CC races (other than 7, anyway):

DISTRICT 5 - This race is between Democratic activist and unsuccessful HD 83 Candidate in 2016 Lawrence Pivnick and newcomer Michael Whaley, who has worked in education for many years.  In keeping with the NEW BLOOD theme here, I am supporting Michael Whaley for this race.

DISTRICT 8 This race has former interim Commissioner Edith Ann Moore,  Daryl L. Lewis (he has his platform here),  newcomer JB Smiley  and FedEx sales manager Mickell Lowery, who lost a tight City Council race to Martavious Jones in 2015.    This may be the best race of all of them, and I really like what I am hearing about Smiley, but if I had a vote, it would go to Mickell Lowery, who has the skills to do a great job on the Commission and he gets my recommendation.


Edmund Ford, Jr.
Ian Jeffries
Pamela Williams Kelly
Adrian Killebrew
Jonathan M. Lewis
Roz Nichols
Jonathan Lang Smith
are the candidates to succeed Justin Ford here, and I confess to only being familiar with Councilor Ford, Reverend Nichols and Jonathan Lewis.   As longtime readers of this blog know, Councilor Ford has been a favorite of mine for his years on the Council.  He has done great work on the Budget Committee and is a seasoned legislator.

All that said, I was downright pissed off when he convinced his fellow councilors to un-do the stated will of the people when our citizens approved Ranked Choice Voting years ago, and put a referendum on the city ballot to reverse their earlier decision.  This action suggests that citizens are not bright enough to figure out how this works when it has been successfully used in other locales.  They were bright enough to elect you TWICE, weren't they?   For this reason, I do NOT recommend him for a seat on the County Commission; my recommendation goes to Reverend Roz Nichols, who will bring a new voice to the seat.

DISTRICT 11 - No recommendation.

Ok, look at them, make up your minds and MAKE SURE YOU VOTE!!!