Councilman Lee Harris announces win against 8-year incumbent Ophelia Ford

Councilman Lee Harris wins senate seat in upset against Ophelia Ford
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

(WMC) - A Memphis councilman has announced victory against Ophelia Ford in the Democratic primary for District 29 in the state senate.

Lee Harris—also a University of Memphis law school professor—made Ford's absences, which came to her missing half the recent legislative session, a campaign issue.

Despite the record showing that Ford missed half her votes, she told WMC Action News 5, "I missed the last week in session. Other than that I've never missed a session this year. I have not ... I have no idea where they got their information."

Harris admitted knocking his opponent out of her seat would be difficult because of the Ford name, but he did single out Ophelia Ford as not being like the other Fords.

"We didn't have history on our side at all 'cause there is a long history of Ford re-election, and it is an uphill battle," Harris said in his victory speech. "He had a challenge because of multiple candidates in the race ... We didn't have a lot of things but what we did have is a message, and our message was the community is ready for change."

Senator Ford's brother, John, whose senate seat she took over when he went to prison for a bribery conviction, didn't think her absences would make a difference to voters.

Ophelia Ford did not show up at her headquarters shortly after Harris' speech, but said on Twitter, "Thank you to all of my colleagues & the little people who have supported/stood by me since 2006. You can't win them all. #StillCallMeSenator"

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