Story lines emerge ahead of city council races in next week’s Memphis municipal election

Story lines emerge ahead of city council races in next week’s Memphis municipal election

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Early voting in the city’s municipal election ends this weekend, and Election Day is Thursday, Oct. 3. Voters will make choices for mayor, city council and other municipal offices.

Making your selections for Memphis City Council races can be confusing if you don’t understand how the districts work.

That’s why voters should make sure they understand the races they can vote in before they get to the ballot box, political analysts said.

Each Memphian will make four choices for city council -- one choice from their district and three choices from their super district. The city is divided into seven districts and two super districts. The two super districts essentially divide the city in half.

Memphis municipal election next Thursday

“We have created a system here that is wildly complicated far beyond what I think most voters can reasonably expect to understand,” said WMC Action News 5 Political Analyst Michael Nelson.

There are a number of interesting story lines forming ahead of next week’s election.

Memphis attorney J.B. Smiley Jr. is on the ballot for one of the council positions in super district 8. He told WMC Action News 5 Thursday voters have not asked him about his encounter with Memphis police two years ago when he claimed he was racially profiled on a traffic stop.

MPD Director Mike Rallings produced body camera video and said his officers did nothing wrong.

“I have not heard it one time,” Smiley said. “We are not talking about the profiling. We are talking about the race. And the fact that our city needs new leadership, a new energy and a new vision.”

In the city’s district 1, Sherman Greer is hoping to hold the seat to which he was appointed earlier this year. His challenger, Rhonda Logan, jockeyed for the appointment at the end of 2018.

But a month-long council stalemate over that vote ground business to a halt and left Logan on the sidelines.

Berlin Boyd was council chair at the time and is one of nine candidates running in district 7, which covers Mud Island and North Memphis.

“Everyone has a right to run. It’s the voter’s seat. I’m just ecstatic – I think my work will speak for itself,” Boyd said.

The district 7 races features the most contenders and would go to a runoff if no candidate gets a majority of the votes. The seven regular districts are subject to runoff races. The six seats in super districts are not.

Two other names in Memphis political circles are reappearing in this council election cycle.

Edmund Ford Sr. is seeking his old seat back in district 6. The former council member was acquitted of federal bribery and extortion charges in 2008.

Two-time Memphis City School board member Dr. Jeff Warren is also seeking public office again, asking voters to elect him in the super district 9 position 3 contest.

You can find a list of certified candidates in all municipal races here.

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