That Other Election – State Senate 31

I know everyone in Memphis is focused on the Mayoral race, and for good reason. There is another race going on, the race to replace disgraced former State Senator Paul Stanley. You may remember, Fmr. Sen. Stanley resigned after it was discovered that he had engaged in an affair with an intern.

Now that the withdrawal deadline has passed, the race is on. Both parties have cleared the decks for their preferred nominees. On the Democratic side is Adrienne Pakis-Gillon . The Republicans have rallied around current HD-83 Rep. Brian Kelsey.

Pakis-Gillon has some impressive Democratic bona fides, and widespread support from Democrats in Shelby County. However, name recognition will be a bit of an issue for the first time candidate. The hill is steep, but it’s possible that in a special election, she could win this thing.

Kelsey, on the other hand, has no problem with name recognition. Dubbed “the Stuntbaby of Germantown“, Kelsey has made a name for himself through shameless self-promotion and wild stunts that would make PT Barnum blush.

I’m sure it goes back further than this, but let’s just deal with the past 9 months or so:

After the election of Rep. Kent Williams to be Speaker of the House, Kelsey filed an ethics complaint against the new Speaker alleging he had sexually harassed a female member of the Republican caucus. At almost exactly the same time, though it took a week for reports to surface, Kelsey apparently tried to barter with the new Speaker through a text message for a Committee Chairmanship. Ultimately, Kelsey admitted he did it and was not prosecuted because the Nashville DA didn’t see the message as coercion, but rather as a “request”.

Kelsey’s legislative agenda is a cornucopia of right wing pet projects disguised as “good policy”. Late in the session a poorly timed and self-aggrandizing press release nearly scuttled the widely supported Charter School bill, for which he tried to take credit, but had nothing to do with. For more detailed information check out this Post Politics search.

I could probably go on, but what would I write about later? This is going to be a race to watch, as will the upcoming special election for HD-83 if Kelsey follows through with his promise to resign.

Stay Tuned!

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