Carol Chumney, one of four major candidates who have announced so far for the District 5 city council seat being vacated by John Vergos, will be working with campaign consultant John Bakke, whose batting average in a variety of major political races has been impressive.
Bakke, who acknowledged that he had also considered offering his services to another District 5 candidate, Jim Strickland, said Wednesday that he and Chumney shared too much history for him not to get involved in her campaign. Chumneys father, Jim Chumney, is a professor of history at the University of Memphis, where Bakke was for many years a professor in the Department of Communications.
Bakke will serve as general consultant for Chumney, now a state representative from a Midtown district largely overlapping District 5, and will do polling for her. His numerous previous clients, from both major political parties, include former U.S. Representative Harold Ford Sr.; his son and successor, the present 9th District congressman, Harold Ford Jr.; current Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton; former county mayors Bill Morris and Jim Rout; and former Governor Don Sundquist.
Professing to have no interest in the current schism in the Shelby County Democratic Party -- one which could conceivably impact the electoral fortunes of both Chumney and fellow Democrat Strickland -- Bakke said he was much more interested in what he called the divisive persona of physician/businessman George Flinn, last years Republican nominee for county mayor and this years GOP endorsee for the District 5 seat.
Im looking forward to campaigning against Flinn, said Bakke, recalling what he considered negative campaign tactics in Flinns unsuccessful campaign against mayoral winner Wharton, the 2002 Democratic nominee.
Issues in the campaign would include consolidation and impact fees for development, said Bakke, who considered it not impossible that Chumney would employ other consultants and pollsters besides himself.
The other candidates have begun to employ political consultants, as well. One of those who has joined Flinns campaign is Lane Provine, while Strickland is working with consultants Mike Carpenter, Matt Kuhn, and Kevin Gallagher. Veteran political figure Joe Cooper basically serves as his own consultant.