Although the Memphis trio of Happy Jones, Jocelyn Wurzburg, and Paula Casey are in the habit of making — and publishing — ballot recommendations for their network of friends toward the end of all local elections, what these longtime women activists are recommending for November 8 is — for them, at least — unprecedented.
Jones and Wurzburg both were ground-floor participants in the modern Shelby County Republican Party’s surge to influence in the latter part of the 20th Century, and Casey, too, though avowedly non-partisan, has supported her share of Republican candidates.
Though the major efforts of all three, well known in civic circles, have in recent years been more focused on issues relating to women”s rights or racial equality than on anything resembling partisan orthodoxy, their sample-ballot recommendations have usually included a reasonable share of GOP candidates.
That is understandable, given that there are parts of Shelby County — the suburbs, in particular — where elected officials tend to be Republican and Democratic candidates rarely make much of a showing and Democrats sometimes don’t even bother to run in elections.
But for the election of November 8, the trio of Jones, Wurzburg, and Casey are advocating strict party-line voting — for Democrats — in every race on the ballot.
Below, in the sample-ballot email they circulated over the weekend, is how they explain their decision, and it reflects their view that in two celebrated instances — one national, one relating to state government —misogynist attitudes have gotten a free pass from the GOP.
BALLOT RECOMMENDATIONS FROM HAPPY JONES, JOCELYN WURZBURG AND PAULA CASEY
When people have asked for our recommendations, we have always prided ourselves on supporting candidates regardless of party, gender, race, or ethnic background. We look for the most qualified candidates to serve the public. We study the issues. This year, we have been appalled that the most unqualified, vile, misogynistic, xenophobic, and racist candidate to ever seek the presidency continues to receive support from local Republicans. We were also appalled that no local Republican state legislators sought to oust the despicable Jeremy Durham before the state attorney general's report revealed the depths of Durham's depravity.
These two sexual predators do not deserve to be in elective office. Thank goodness the GOP finally grew a spine and ousted Mr. Durham. It should have happened much sooner. They only did it when there was a public outcry. Republicans running for state and federal office continue to state their support for the unqualified and embarrassing GOP presidential nominee. Shameful.
We are recommending that you vote for any and all Democrats running for every office. It is the only way to show disgust with what the Republicans have done. We think they deserve to be defeated for their support of two sexual predators. The legislature wouldn't have ousted Mr. Durham if they hadn't had to so he wouldn't receive a legislative pension. Lots of people knew about his antics and turned a blind eye, including local GOP legislators.
For the record, the three women also opined on ballot referenda, recommended passage of a City of Memphis Home Charter Amendment enlarging the city’s share of utility-tax revenues and against a Shelby County Home Rule Charter Amendment granting the County Commission greater say in hirings and firings by the Shelby County Mayor’s Office.