The filing deadline has passed, and even though we still have a week for people to change their minds (pull out), here are the candidates that have qualified for the ballot. These names started out in a particular order, but ended up all crazy. Order should not be taken as any kind of endorsement or anything else, it just is what it is.
First, lets look as some familiar faces…
Kemp Conrad – Probably the strongest of the “losers” from last year’s election. Conrad lost to Shea Flinn, mostly because he and Joe Saino split the conservative vote. Despite that split, Conrad won one third of the precincts, and came in a close second in nearly every other. 9-2, like 9-3 was a crowded field with no one garnering more that 31% in either contest. If Conrad doesn’t have a challenger on the right, he could take this thing.
Mary Wilder – After last year’s campaign, Wilder was reviled by many, including myself, for “losing runner up Desi Franklin the race”. Whether this is, or is not the case is inconsequential…it’s another year, and another election, time to move on. Wilder’s third place finish in the 9-3 race was somewhat stronger that it appeared at first blush, but will still need a lot of improvement to win. The name recognition that last year’s contest brings may put her within striking distance.
Lester Lit – Lester had an interesting campaign tactic last year. Basically, he implored people who couldn’t vote for his campaign to vote for Desi or Mary. It didn’t work; Lit came in 4th place and neither Desi, nor Mary won. If the ballot ends up looking like it does now, we could have a repeat of that very race on our hands.
Regina Morrison Newman – In 2006 Regina came in second in a crowded field of candidates for General Sessions Judge. In that race, her vote total was greater than any of the 3 previously mentioned candidates. I know, apples and oranges… Still, if her name recognition hasn’t faded from memory in two years, it puts her in a stronger position than this stacked ballot may indicate.
Brian Stephens – Competing against a crowded field in Council District 2, Stephens looked strong. He came in second in the general, sending the race into a run-off. Turn-out, which was low, ultimately decided the fate of Stephens, but the contacts he made, and his strong endorsement from Coalition for a Better Memphis have had people talking since last year.
Antonio Parkinson – “2-Shay”, the 3rd place finisher in the race for District 1, Parkinson made a name for himself. To be honest, I don’t remember anything about him but the “2-Shay” part, but name recognition’s a big part of this game, so he’s got a good start.
John Willingham – Everyone’s favorite grumpy old man of Memphis politics. An election without Willingham on the ballot is like a day without sunshine. Willingham may have only received less than 1% of the vote in last year’s Mayoral race, but that’s 1% he can take off Conrad’s total, so I’m all for it!
Paul Shaffer – Business manager of the IBEW, so we can assume he has the support of labor. Not sure how that translates to votes in the more conservative areas of District 9, but stranger things have, and do, happen…almost daily. Shaffer ran for the Charter Commission, position 6 in 2006 and came in 5th.
There are some newish faces here too. To my limited knowledge, none of these people have run for anything. That doesn’t mean they haven’t, that just means I don’t know about it.
Jim Ogle – The VP of Operations for the Erickson Group recently led a Tour of Downtown Manhole Covers. Interesting platform sir!
Richard Stringer – He retired last year from his long time business. This year, he’s “re-fired” throwing his hat into the ring. Yeah, I know it was cheesy, I’m running out of material here.
Arnett Montague III – If you’re reading, email me with some info, you’re a ghost on the Tubes.
Obviously, there’s a week before the last date to withdraw. I’m sure some of these people will choose to defer, but I’m willing to put some money on some surprise hold-outs. One thing’s for sure, I doubt it will be boring.
Also check out the article from this morning’s CA.