I’ve never taken the time to hang out at the Election Commission right around the filing deadline, but I did today. Not only was it educational, but drama filled.
I’m calling this race “The Second Chance Club”. Five former candidates for City Council; Conrad, Lit, Parkinson, Stephens, and Wilder, none of whom should come as a surprise to anyone. There are several other familiar faces as I noted in my previous post, The John Willingham Experience™, and then a few newcomers.
Of all the candidates, Conrad, Lit, Newman, Wilder, and The John Willingham Experience™ have run races that are larger than a single City Council district. That’s potentially a big advantage. Still, none of them won. The lessons learned from that experience are the key to victory. I predict that doing it the way it’s always been done will not be enough to win with the shortened campaign calendar, and that bags of money will be thrown at this from the right like they’re trying to put out a fire (that how Republicans put out fires, right?).
Stephens ran a really good race that landed him in 2nd place in District 2. By some accounts, Stephens never really stopped campaigning. Further, there are rumblings by some Democrats that they may support Stephens. I’ll let them out themselves, but if this is the case it will hurt Wilder and Newman the most.
Right after the John Willingham Experience™ filed he sought out Memphis Daily News reporter Bill Dries to tell his tale. In the article Dries quotes Willingham as saying
“I’m running because of Kemp Conrad,”
The discussion, which was happening nearby, went a good deal longer than that, but that was the gist of his comments. As the article notes, Conrad was standing about 40 feet away. It was hard to maintain any level of decorum. Really, it was funny as hell.
Before the bluster of grumpiness that is The John Willingham Experience™ there were rumblings of Sidney Chism’s support of Antonio “2-Shay” Parkinson. I can’t say for sure, but considering the depth of the field on the left side of the ballot and the demographic breakdown of District 9, it would take a far deeper field on the right for “2-Shay” to have “A Chance”. It’s too early to call for anyone to withdraw, but right now, besides The John Willingham Experience™, I think he’s least likely to win.
In the comments of my earlier post, there’s already been the obligatory allegation of Uptonian influence in Mary Wilder’s decision to join the campaign. I can’t say one way or the other, but considering how fervently Upton defended Wilder’s campaign from charges of ballot stacking it would be hard to believe that he doesn’t support her.
Ultimately, this isn’t about David Upton, it’s about Mary Wilder. Wilder should be judged on her merits as a candidate and potential Council Member, not on personal feelings some may have about her supporters. Wilder has to distinguish herself outside of her base of support in order to win. That’s a tall order considering the shortened time frame, the money required to stay competitive, and her previous outings in last year’s election and the 2006 Charter Commission District 5 election where she lost by 12,000 votes to Joe Brown Jr. You know what they say, three strikes and you’re out!
Other candidates on the left side of the ledger have been contacted about the possibility of withdrawing and rallying behind a consensus candidate. This is the natural order of things. I don’t have any specifics yet, but it would do everyone some good to spend some time researching the past campaigns of their opposition. Strengths and weakness can be revealed very quickly, with very little digging.
From my end, who I ultimately choose to support will come from two things, positions and electability, in that order. This may be a “popularity contest” as those who cautioned me about getting in described it, but for my support, for whatever that’s worth, you gotta have substance.
I’m waiting, and if you don’t have my email, click my profile to the right, it’s right there.