Shelby Co. Commission replaces Republican with Democrat

By Lori Brown - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - After multiple votes Monday, Shelby County commissioners voted to replace outgoing Republican Commissioner David Lillard with a Democrat.

Commissioners replaced Lillard with Matt Kuhn, a former chairman of the Shelby County Democratic Party.  Lillard resigned his post as District 4 commissioner last month after he was named treasurer for the state of Tennessee.

The voting process that ultimately selected Kuhn as Lillard's replacement wasn't pretty, with eight rounds of voting taken before Kuhn finally received the seven votes necessary.

The runner-up was Republican Tommy Hart, a former Shelby County Commissioner, who joked with commissioners before the vote.

"You can save money and move my picture from that side of the wall to that side," he said.

Before the multiple votes began, Commissioner Wyatt Bunker urged Democratic commissioners to vote for a Republican to replace Lillard.

"(It's) professional courtesy," he said. "My good friend Ford benefited when the Republican's were in the majority."

But Sidney Chism said commissioners shouldn't be focused on party, but rather performance.

"Shouldn't be a Democrat or Republican," he said. "It should be the right person."

After being sworn in, Kuhn said he will work hard to be that person.

Kuhn will service District 4 for a year and a half - the remainder of Lillard's term.  He indicated Monday he is interested in running for the seat when the term expires.