Commissioners prepare for round two of county mayoral vote - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Commissioners prepare for round two of county mayoral vote

The battle between the two front-runners for interim Shelby County mayor is hitting a fever pitch as commissioners prepare for Tuesday's big vote. The battle between the two front-runners for interim Shelby County mayor is hitting a fever pitch as commissioners prepare for Tuesday's big vote.

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The battle between the two front-runners for interim Shelby County mayor is hitting a fever pitch as commissioners prepare for Tuesday's big vote.

Commissioners Joe Ford and J.W. Gibson are butting heads in the battle for county mayor.  To get the appointment, a candidate needs seven votes.  But Commissioner Mike Ritz believes anything could happen when voting commences.

"I think it's going to be an outsider," he said.

Ritz is one of nine commissioners charged with the task of appointing a new Shelby County mayor.  Commissioners deadlocked last week in a record 24-round vote, with the two front-runners, Ford and Gibson, turning to personal attacks.

"That's one of the reasons I asked they no longer be able to speak, because the rhetoric between the two," Ritz said. "They weren't talking about themselves, they were trying to make the other commissioner look different or bad."

And what does Ritz expect Tuesday?
    
"Frankly, we're probably locked up."

Ritz says that's because they're voting on their peers.

"I think it would be better for County Commission relations over the next nine months if a commissioner didn't get it," Ritz said.

Ritz said the vote might not go as people expect.

"I hope it's done pretty soon," he said. "It could be that we never get to a vote between Ford and Gibson.  A new candidate sort of just shows up."

Ritz wouldn't elaborate further.  Sources say possible names include Judge Otis Higgs, and the owner of popular the Rendezvous eatery, John Vergos.

Ritz said commissioners voted 24 rounds last Monday thinking someone might switch and break the deadlock.  That never happened.

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