Whalum Makes Election Plans; Ritz Sizes Up Chairman's Race



Whalum; Ritz
  • Whalum; Ritz
  • • Regardless of what happens to Memphis City Schools (the very existence of which is one of the matters at issue in the current school-merger federal trial), you will have firebrand MCS Board member Kenneth Whalum to kick around some more — at least for an election cycle.

    Whalum told the Flyer this week he intended to pull a petition from the Election Commission for the District 4 City Council seat currently held by Wanda Halbert or the Super District 8 seat now held by council chairman Myron Lowery.

    ”Or I might run for mayor,” Whalum said.

    UPDATE: In following through on his intentions, Whalum has apparently pulled a petition to run against chairman Lowery, as indicated, and one for mayor, as also suggested, but, instead of pulling a petition for Halbert's District 4 seat, Whalum has apparently drawn a petition to run in Super District 9 against incumbent Shea Flinn.

  • • Shelby County Commissioner Mike Ritz tells the Flyer that, contrary to our earlier report, he is not to be counted among the potential supporters of either of the two active candidates for the next chairmanship cycle — current vice chair Mike Carpenter or current chair Sidney Chism.

    ”I told Sidney that I wouldn’t be supporting his effort to repeat his chairmanship and upset the traditional rotation between Democrats and Republicans,” said Republican Ritz.

    Chism is a Democrat, and tradition would hold that vice chair Carpenter, a Republican, would rotate into the chairmanship. But Ritz is opposed to Carpenter, as well. “I have made it clear that I couldn’t support Mike for the chairmanship,” said Ritz, who, like four other Republican commissioners, chose not to support Carpenter’s vice-chairmanship bid last year.

    Carpenter has often voted independently of the other GOP members on key issues and won the vice-chairmanship on the basis of his own vote plus that of the commission’s Democrats. As Ritz notes, Carpenter’s chance of reassembling that coalition seem difficult to impossible as a result of Chism’s own active campaign for a second consecutive term.

    ”I don’t see how either he or Sidney can get enough votes to win,” Ritz opined. Was he himself entertaining the notion of seeking the chairmanship as a substitute for Carpenter in the party-rotation cycle?

    ”Not without a commitment of enough votes in advance. Been there and done that.” Ritz said, apropos his hopes of winning the vice-chairmanship in the previous round. The vote for the 2011-12 chairman and vice chair will take place in August, and all bets are off. As Ritz noted,“There are too many issues for us to consider between now and then. Votes are going to change back and forth.”

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