MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - In less than a month, voters in Shelby and Tipton County will head back to the polls in a special election to fill the two years left on former State Senator Mark Norris’s term.
Norris is now on the federal bench, appointed by President Donald Trump to a judgeship and confirmed this fall.
The exit of the nearly two-decade state lawmaker and senate majority leader creates a rare opening in Senate District 32.
WMC Political Analyst Michael Nelson said that it is a Republican district and was designed that way.
“It’s a very desirable seat for ambitious Republicans, who’ve been waiting for that seat to come open,” said Nelson.
Republicans on the ballot include.:
- Steve McManus – former State Representative
- George Chism – former Shelby County Commissioner, who also ran for County Trustee in August and lost
- Heidi Shafer – former 2-term Shelby County Commissioner and last year’s Commission Chair
- Paul Rose – owner of a namesake construction company in Covington
Of the four candidates, Nelson said Shafer likely has the most name recognition.
The odd timing of the primary, falling in the winter season and the expected low turnout of the special election means it could be anyone's race.
The primary is set for January 24 and the general election is March 12.
One of those four republicans will face off against the sole Democratic candidate, Eric Coleman.