Reorganized Shelby County Democrats elect new chairman

A restructured Shelby County Democratic Party elected Naval Reserve officer and lawyer Corey Strong as chairman on Saturday, reports the Commercial Appeal.

Strong, 36, became the party’s first chairman since it was forcibly disbanded by the Tennessee Democratic Party a year ago.

“My goal is to have a unified message across various interest groups and people of different backgrounds,” Strong said. “The values that we share are the values we want represented in our government, our communities and our neighborhood.”

Strong, a graduate of White Station High and the U.S. Naval Academy, served eight years on active duty in the Navy. He received a law degree from the University of Memphis in 2014 and is a special project manager in the Shelby County Schools finance department under a foundation residency program.

Further from Jackson Baker, who reports Strong’s  “thoughtful, informed manner helped him out-poll four other chairmanship aspirants in a vote taken at the IBEW union hall on Madison Saturday morning.”

All of the five candidates — includes, besides Strong, political consultant Ken Taylor, charter-school and activist Anthony Anderson, free-lance policy analyst Thurston Smith, and retired law professor Larry Pivnick — had their moments during the brief chairmanship campaign, and especially in two forums this week, one at Shady Grove Presbyterian Church on Tuesday night and another on Friday night at the IBEW hall.

But in the balloting on Saturday, Strong took ad early lead and never lost it, heading the list on the first ballot and handily out-polling runoff opponent Taylor 66-25 on the second ballot.

State Democratic chair Mary Mancini, whose decertificaton of the former SCDP for what she termed “many years of dysfunction” opened the way for a newly formed party and a fresh start, was on hand Saturday to swear in Strong.

The meeting was presided over by David Cocke and Clarissa Shaw, who for the several months of party reorganization had served as co-chairs of the ad hoc committee charged with bringing back into being an official Democratic Party unit in Shelby County.

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