That said, an atypical group of African-American leaders is meeting to consider their next steps. At the most, they may give support to calls for recounts, but at the least, they are concerned about the widespread lack of confidence in the election process and want to discuss ways to correct it.
Mayor A C Wharton flexed his political muscle as the top vote-getter on election day, reinforcing his reputation as the most popular office-holding in Shelby County.
When he takes office on September 1, he will make history. He will be the first county mayor who is a lame duck on the day he takes office. That's because he's the first mayor affected by terms limits.Look for him to be more forceful in his agenda and his determination, not just because he only has four more years to get them done, but because he'll need to be more assertive as the political insiders and big contributors will almost immediately be looking ahead to the next candidate for county mayor.
Despite the Wharton mandate, Commissioner John Willingham shouldn’t be hanging his head too much. True, he only got 25 percent of the vote, but considering that he had no money, no organization and no real party help, it’s a respectable showing and points to the mayor’s wisdom in reaching out to the Republican leaders to the point that they had no enthusiasm in looking for a contender that could have gotten full party backing. More to the point, Commissioner Willingham's message about the dysfunctional local tax structure was right on target, and it is likely to be proven again as early as next year with another county property tax hike.
Although they were unopposed, it was also good to see the votes of confidence – as reflected in their receiving more than 100,000 votes – for Judges James Beasley and Larry Potter. Apparently, their fairness and their diligence have not gone unnoticed. Sadly, Probate Court Judge Donn Southern lost his seat. He’s one of the best judges on the bench in this county, and his successor can’t begin to live up to his credentials or his judicial temperament. But, such is politics.
In the election for U.S. Congresman, State Senator Steve Cohen faces a major hurdle in the latest model of the the Ford family, this time, Jake Ford, who at this point appears to be the perceived favorite. If he is to win, Senator Cohen will need to mend some fences quickly and allay some widely-held notions in the black community that he had no serious interest in their votes. That perception could only have been strengthened by interviews on election night that showed him surrounded by white faces at his headquarters.