Wharton sample ballot omits several hot races

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton

(WMC-TV) - A new ballot is at the polls, but it's not in a polling booth. Memphis Mayor A C Wharton's candidate endorsement ballot is circulating at early voting precincts.

Tuesday, Memphis Flyer senior editor and political guru Jackson Baker said the ballot is reminiscent of a former Congressman.

"Harold Ford, Senior used to do it all the time," Baker said. "In fact, every election season people eagerly waited to see who was on the 'Ford ballot,' as it was called. This is the Wharton ballot. That's the new thing."

Wharton's camp says his campaign staff compiled the ballot and he approved it.

Click here to look at the sample ballot.

City Council incumbent Janis Fullilove is not on the list. Baker said it may not be that Wharton is against her, as much as he is in support of her opponent.

"It may be simply that he likes Rosalyn Nichols, Fullilove's opponent, who has a lot of support from a lot of people," he said.

Though Wharton has had past political ties with the Ford family, he is not endorsing former Senator John Ford's daughter, Kemba, for District 7. Instead, he is backing Yale grad Lee Harris.

"Lee Harris, whom the mayor did endorse has a lot of establishment support," Baker said. "He has a lot of money. He has high rankings from people who rank candidates."

What is NOT on the ballot also makes it interesting.

"I think it's interesting that he stayed away from a couple hot button races," Baker said.

The Wharton ballot jumps from District 5 to District 7. Incumbent Edmund Ford, Junior is running for District 6. His father, Edmund Ford, Senior is running against Wharton for mayor.

District 9, Position 1 is also no where to be found.
"Kemp Conrad versus Paul Shafer. Now he's got friends in both of those camps, and he doesn't want to make any waves or rock any boats," Baker said.

Wharton also steered clear of District 8, Position 1 - with incumbent Joe Brown.

Early voting ends October 1, and the election follows on October 6.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.