Low voter turnout expected for special election

Special election to be held for District 32

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Voters will soon head to the polls in the primary election for State Senate District 32.

The primary features a crowded field of four republican candidates.

Special elections are notorious for very low turnout.

The Shelby County Election Commission said they believe many voters simply are not aware of the election.

"January is a strange time to have an election," said Administrator of Elections Linda Phillips

The state senate seat in district 32 is up for grabs. It was held for a decade by senate majority leader, now federal judge Mark Norris.

The district includes all of Tipton and mostly suburban areas of eastern Shelby County, with familiar faces throwing their names in the ring.

Candidates include Heidi Shafer, George Chism, Steve McManus and Paul Rose.

“My 8 years on the commission was a really good learning ground. I built up so many relationships,” said Shafer.

Both Heidi Shafer and George Chism just came off county commission terms.

“I was on the county commission the last 4 years I have a voting record within this district,” said Chism.

Former state representative Steve McManus wants voters to send him to Nashville again.

“I’m really surprised I’m the only one in this race who’s got state government experience because once you go back to Nashville in March you’ve got to know the budget,” said McManus.

Covington construction businessman Paul Rose is a political newcomer.

“I think our name recognition will help us down here, but I think it’s helpful there’s 3 candidates in Shelby. That’s going to help,” said Rose.

Shelby County voters make up nearly three quarters of the district.

However, Tipton County is out performing Shelby County in early voting numbers with 500 as of Thursday.

WMC Political Analyst Michael Nelson said the republican primary may be anyone’s race.

“You’ve got 4 strong candidates for the republican nomination,” said Nelson.

The last day of early voting is Saturday. The primary election is Thursday, January 24.

The winner of the republican primary will face the democratic candidate Eric Coleman on March 12.

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