The campaign of Jeff Sullivan for state representative in District 89 (Midtown) attempted on Thursday to refocus voter attention on the matter of endorsements and away from opponent Beverly Marrero's emphasis on the issue of Sullivan's residence.
Said Sullivan in a press release: "To my knowledge, every group that has chosen to endorse in this race has chosen to endorse my candidacy. Receiving all of these endorsements has been a real honor to me and shows a wide range of support for my abilities and know-how. I believe it firmly shows that the people of District 89 will have a conscientious first-day legislator to take their needs and concerns to Nashville."
Sullivan listed the following organizations as having endorsed his candidacy in next Tuesday's special election to provide a successor to city councilor-elect Carol Chumney:
AFL-CIO Labor Council
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 474
Steamfitters, Local 614
Tennessee Carpenters Regional Council
Memphis Police Association
Memphis Education Association
Marrero and her chief backer, State Senator Steve Cohen, have insisted that Sullivan is not at present a resident of District 89 and that he cast an early-voting ballot illegally by falsely clainming a rental property as his domicile.
Sullivan got an unexpected boost Friday when State Representative Lois DeBerry, the House Speaker Pro Tem, said in brief remarks to attendees at a luncheon of Memphis realtors that the residence issue was deflecting attention away from the issue of who could best serve District 89 and probably stemmed from the long-standing rivalry between Cohen and his Senate colleague, Jim Kyle.
"They [the voters] should just ask themselves who will do the right things for the district and not get wrapped up in all this political stuff," DeBerry said.
Though Senator Kyle has not taken an active role in Sullivan's campaign, Sullivan has long been identified with Kyle politically and served as an intern for the senator in Nashville.
Cohen and Kyle are both Democrats, as are Marrero and Sullivan. No Republicans filed for the right to succeed Chumney, who resigned her seat during her successful recent campaign for city council.
Tuesday's Democratic primary will be followed up on the February 10th general election ballot.