No clear front-runner for Shelby Co. mayor, analyst says

SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) - Voters in Shelby County made their choices for mayor known Tuesday, and now the two men at the top of the ballot start a new battle.

The stage is set for a big showdown in the Shelby County mayor's race between Democratic nominee Lee Harris and Republican nominee David Lenoir

You can expect the two candidates to raise a lot of money and run a lot of ads leading up to the August general election.

"It's unusual to have this competitive election for county mayor," political analyst Mike Nelson said.

With the primary out of the way, Lenoir and Harris will spend the next three months fighting for the votes of Shelby County residents, and both men made clear Tuesday night that they're ready.

"We're going to continue to do what we've always done. I've been fortunate to run and win two countywide races as the county trustee," Lenoir said.

"I've run for Memphis City Council; I ran for state senate. I've never seen anything like this. I've never seen folks that are ready to see their community move up," Harris said.

Nelson said at this point, there's no clear front-runner.

"I think it's going to be a high-impact campaign," he said.

Though Democratic turnout outpaced Republican turnout in the primary Tuesday, Nelson said Republicans will likely see a bump in August thanks to what will be a competitive Republican primary race for Tennessee governor.

"What goes on with the state primaries has a lot to do with turnout here in the county, and right now that should help David Lenoir," he said.

Nelson said job one for David Lenoir should be to reach out and try to win over Terry Roland's primary voters.

And, he said, the goal for Lee Harris should be driving turnout among his base and courting middle-of-the-road voters.

"Lee Harris' strategy has to be to somehow energize turnout among Democrats and also build bridges to Republicans who might be looking for a different choice," Nelson said.

The next time voters head to the polls will be for the county's general election on Aug. 2--which is also the date for the state's governor primary.

Copyright 2018 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.