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Dems Prepared for Contests in District 89; Commission Sets Vote on Interim Rep

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As the Shelby County Commission voted Monday to hold interviews with potential candidates for interim state representative in House District 89 on Tuesday, April 2, with a vote on the interim member scheduled for a week later, on April 9, contests were developing on the Democratic side of the aisle – both for the interim position and for the right to serve as permanent member via a subsequent special election.

Two Democrats were being talked up, as of Monday, to serve as interim state representative -- activists David Holt and Mary Wilder. Holt was the subject of something of a draft movement among local progressive bloggers, while Wilder was being pushed by longtime activist/broker David Upton.

The real surprise is that, in the looming special election primary, Democrat Kevin Gallagher is losing ground among erstwhile supporters. Gallager had been considered a tacit consensus choice and a shoo-in after yielding to Former District 89 representative Beverly Marrero in the District 30 state Senate special election, which she won.

Since that understanding was reached, however, Gallagher, who served most recently as campaign manager for 9th District congressman Steve Cohen, has alienated many of his former backers -- both through acts of omission (some considered him too remote a presence during Marrero's special election race with Republican Larry Parrish) and acts of commission (he has had a series of awkward personal encounters with members of his support base).

Rapidly gaining support for the permament seat among Democrats is another longtime activist, Jeannie Richardson -- who has picked up backing (some of it silent for now) with both Upton, her original sponsor, and with members of the blogging community who don't normally see eye to eye with Upton.

All of this was occurring on the eve of another important vote among Democrats -- that for local Democratic chairman, to take place next Saturday during a party convention. The two leading candidates are lawyer Jay Bailey and minister Keith Norman.

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