special election

Environmental activist Pearson wins race to succeed the late Rep. Barbara Cooper

Environmental activist Justin Pearson won the Democratic primary to succeed the late Rep. Barbara Cooper (D-Memphis) in the Tennessee House. There were no Republicans or independents running for the District 86 seat.

The Shelby County Commission was expected to meet Wednesday to vote on whether to name Pearson to the House seat on an interim basis until the March general election.

Pearson won more than half of the 2,359 votes cast in the contest. His closest rival was former longtime County Commissioner Julian T. Bolton, who had been endorsed by former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Sr. (D-Memphis). Pearson had the backing of current Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.

Here are the unofficial results from Shelby County:

  • Justin J. Pearson: 52%
  • Julian T. Bolton: 12%
  • Will Richardson: 8%
  • Juliette Eskridge: 7%
  • Clifford Lewis: 5%
  • Tanya L. Cooper: 5%
  • Rod Blount: 4%
  • Dominique Frost: 4%
  • Andrew “Rome” Withers: 1.5%
  • Rebecca Robinson: 0.5%

Democratic nominee for open state House seat accused of rape (UPDATED)

DeAngelo Jelks, the Democratic nominee to fill an open state House seat in Hamilton County, has been accused of rape during his campaign, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports.

Jelks, 40, resigned as vice chair of the Hamilton County Democratic Party after a rape report was filed with the Chattanooga Police Department on Sunday. Jelks declined to comment when the newspaper visited his home on Monday.

UPDATE: Jelks admitted to having an affair, but denied the rape allegation, the newspaper reports, calling it “a consensual yet inappropriate relationship.”

City Council member Demetrus Coonrod said she was contacted by the alleged victim last week. Coonrod said she did not previously know the woman who had worked with Jelks during the campaign.

“I told her the only real way we can do anything is if she comes forward and goes to the police,” Coonrod told the paper. “So she went Sunday and met with a detective at the Family Justice Center and got a DNA swab.”

The election to serve the remainder of the term of the late Rep. Mike Carter (R-Ooltewah) is Tuesday. Jelks was unopposed in the Democratic primary, as was the Republican nominee Greg Vital.

House GOP congratulates Grills on special election win

Rusty Grills has won the special election to serve out the term of resigned Rep. Bill Sanderson (R-Kenton) in House District 77 in northwest Tennessee. And the House GOP is understandably thrilled about it.

Here is the celebratory release:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee House Republican leadership including House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville), House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland), and House Republican Caucus Chairman Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) today congratulated Rusty Grills on his overwhelming victory during last night’s special election to fill the vacant District 77 seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

A current Dyer County Commissioner, Grills received 85 percent of the vote Thursday evening, overwhelmingly defeating democratic challenger Michael Smith and three independent candidates. He fills the vacancy created when former five-term State Rep. Bill Sanderson stepped down in early September.

“Congratulations to conservative Rusty Grills on his resounding victory during last night’s special election,” said Speaker Sexton. “Having campaigned with him, Rusty is committed to fighting for his constituents and upholding their conservative values. I know he will do a great job serving his community, West Tennessee, and our state. I look forward to working with him in Nashville, and I welcome him to our General Assembly.”

“It matters who governs, and the citizens of District 77 have overwhelmingly sent a true conservative to Nashville to serve them,” said Leader Lamberth. “We are excited to have Rep. Grills join our General Assembly, and I am confident Rusty will be a strong voice for his community.”

“I want to congratulate Rusty Grills on his victory and welcome the newest member of our House Republican Caucus to Nashville,” said Chairman Faison. “I have enjoyed getting to know Rusty over the last few weeks, and I know he will do a great job representing the men, women, and families of District 77.”

Rep. Grills will officially be sworn in when the new legislative year begins on Jan. 14, 2020.

Election night results in Tennessee

Former school board member Indya Kincannon defeated businessman Eddie Mannis in Knoxville’s mayoral runoff. While it was technically a nonpartisan race, Kincannon is a Democrat and Mannis is a Republican.

Kincannon was elected mayor with 52% of the vote, while Mannis received 48%. Of the 25,460 votes cast in the election, 47% came in the form of early or absentee ballots.

Rusty Grills won the Republican nomination in the special election to succeed former state Rep. Bill Sanderson (R-Kenton) in state House District 77. Grills received 56%, compared with 25% for his nearest rival, Casey Hood. The Obion County Commission had appointed Hood as Sanderson’s interim successor.

Michael Smith was unopposed in the Democratic primary.


Voters to elect Green successor in state Senate

Tuesday is special election day in state Senate District 22. Voters in Montgomery, Houston, and Stewart counties will decide who will fill the last 18 months of former state Sen. Mark Green’s term in the General Assembly following the Ashland City Republican’s election to Congress.


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Rose wins GOP primary in special election to succeed Norris in Senate

Covington businessman Paul Rose won the Republican nomination contest in the special election to succeed former state Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville). Rose won 60% of the vote, compared with 14.4% for George Chism, 14.3% for Heidi Shafer, and 11% for former state Rep. Steve McManus.

Rose will face Eric R. Coleman, who received 543 in his uncontested Democratic primary.  The general election is March 12.


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