Shelby County Commission Races Feature Basar Upset

By Bill Dries  |  The Daily News

Lowery Is Newest Commissioner, Ford Advances in District 9

The Shelby County Commission will have eight new faces when all of the votes are counted in the Aug. 2 county general election.

Five of the current incumbent county commissioners are term-limited from seeking re-election this year and two other incumbents chose not to seek a second term on the 13-member body.

And in the Tuesday, May 1, county primary elections, District 13 Republican incumbent Steve Basar was upset by challenger Brandon Morrison – a mother of five and Second Presbyterian Church deacon who has also worked in equity research and has served on numerous community boards.

Morrison meets George Monger, a former Shelby County Election Commissioner who currently works at Made In Memphis Entertainment, on the August county general election ballot. Monger beat Charlie Belenky in Tuesday’s Democratic primary by 244 votes in the closest election on the primary ballot.

The unofficial results in the Republican primary are:

Morrison 2,938

Basar 1,488

The unofficial results in the Democratic primary are:

Monger 1,208

Belenky 964

Meanwhile, Mickell Lowery, a FedEx employee and chairman of the Memphis Housing Authority board, claimed the District 8 county commission seat by winning Tuesday’s Democratic primary over rivals J.B. Smiley Jr., Daryl L. Lewis and Edith Ann Moore. The seat is currently held by Democrat Walter Bailey, who is term-limited. There is no Republican or independent contender for the seat on the August ballot.

The unofficial results are:

Lowery 2,373

Smiley 745

Lewis 299

Moore 233

Democratic incumbent commissioner Eddie Jones was effectively re-elected with his victory over Eric Winston on Tuesday’s Democratic primary in District 11. He faces no Republican or independent opposition on the August ballot.

The unofficial results are:

Jones 2,334

Winston 1,105

Memphis City Council member Edmund Ford Jr. had little trouble winning the most crowded race on the ballot Tuesday – the Democratic primary for commission District 9, currently held by his cousin, Justin Ford. Justin Ford is term limited and is running for the state Senate in the August legislative primaries. Edmund Ford Jr. beat rivals Roz Nichols, Jonathan M. Lewis, Adrian Killebrew, Pamela Williams Kelly, Ian Jeffriesand Jonathan Lang Smith. He meets Republican Sharon Webb in the August county general election. Webb, a former Memphis City Schools board member ran unopposed in Tuesday’s primary.

The unofficial results are:

Ford 3,711

Nichols 1,233

Lewis 1,140

Killebrew 689

Kelly 188

Jeffries 114

Smith 27

If Ford wins the general election for the commission seat, it would trigger an appointment to fill the council seat he would vacate until the winner of the October 2019 city elections takes office in January 2020.

Local Republican steering committee member Amber Mills won the party’s primary for commission District 1, the seat now held by Republican Terry Roland, who is term-limited and ran for county mayor. Mills beat Melody McLeary to advance to the August election where she will meet Democratic nominee Racquel Collins, of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, who ran unopposed Tuesday in her primary.

The unofficial primary results are:

Mills 1,856

McLeary 1,488

Mick Wright, a Youth Villages employee and a veteran of local, state and national Republican campaigns, won the Republican primary for commission District 3 over Lindsey Massey to meet Democrat Monica Timmerman on the August ballot. Timmerman ran unopposed Tuesday. The race is for the seat Republican incumbent David Reaves is giving up.

The unofficial primary results are:

Wright 2,655

Massey 2,140

The race for commission District 5, currently held by Republican commission chairwoman Heidi Shafer, who is term-limited is between Republican Richard E. Morton and Democrat Michael Whaley. Morton, who last ran as the Republican nominee for General Sessions Court Clerk in 2016 and works in the Probate Court Clerk’s office, beat Geoff Diaz who ran for commission four years ago and is executive director of Crye-Leike Realtors. Whaley, the founding director of Leadership for Educational Equity beat Lawrence Pivnick, a retired University of Memphis Law School professor in the Democratic primary.

The unofficial Republican primary results are:

Morton 1,380

Diaz 887

The unofficial Democratic primary results are:

Whaley 1,610

Pivnick 323

Take ‘Em Down 901 founder and leader Tami Sawyer is the Democratic nominee for the commission District 7 seat Democratic incumbent Melvin Burgess is giving up because of term limits and his bid to be Assessor. She bested former Shelby County Schools board member Stephanie Gatewoodand Eric Dunn in the primary. She faces Republican nominee Sam Goff in the August general election. Goff has no opposition in his primary.

The unofficial Democratic primary results are:

Sawyer 2,249

Gatewood 1,599

Dunn 627

The commission primaries were a formality for Democratic incumbents Van Turner and Willie Brooks who ran unopposed and face no Republican or independent opposition.

Democratic incumbent Reginald Milton ran unopposed in his primary and faces no Republican opposition. He faces independent candidate Vontyna Durham in the August general election.

Meanwhile, Republican David Bradford and Democrat Tom Carpenterhad already advanced to the August county general election in commission District 2, the seat now held by Republican George Chismwho is the Republican nominee for county trustee. Bradford and Carpenter were each unopposed Tuesday in their respective primaries.

The same is true of District 5 Republican incumbent Mark Billingsley and Democratic challenger Kevin Haley.

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