As of noon Thursday, the first major filing deadline of the political year has passed - the one for the May 2nd Democratic and Republican primaries for countywide offices - and several interesting races are shaping up.
Two of them - involving incumbent county commissioners Walter Bailey and Cleo Kirk - may turn out to be moot in one way or another, dependent on whether the state Supreme Court eventually rules that Bailey and Kirk are term-limited out of eligibility according to the terms of a 1994 local referendum.
Coincidentally or not, the Court informed the two commissioners Thursday that it would meet on March 21st to hear their suit seeking an overturn of the restriction, with briefs due on March 7th. (A third term-limited commissioner, Julian Bolton, is also a party to the suit but has decided not to run for reelection; Bolton is eyeing a race for Congress in the 9th congressional district.)
As of now, Bailey is opposed in District 2, Position 1 by two primary opponents, J.W. Gibson and Darrick Harris. Kirk has a one-on-one primary contest with former interim state Senator Sidney Chism.
In other major races, county commissioner John Willingham filed Thursday as a Republican candidate for Shelby County mayor. He is opposed in the Republican primary by Brent Todd. Incumbent mayor A C Wharton is opposed in the Democratic primary by Jefferey Woodard, ironically a political sympathizer with Willingham.
Willingham's daughter, Karla Templeton, is a candidate for her father's vacated seat in District 1, Position 3. She will face Mike Carpenter in the GOP primary. DeAngelo Pegues is running unopposed in the Demcratic primary.
Unopposed members of the county commission are;
Republicans George Flinn and David Lillard, in District 1, Position 2,
and District 4, Position 3, respectively, Democrat Deidre Malone in
District 2, Position 3, and Joyce Avery, District 4, Position 1. (A Democrat, Thomas Dillard, had filed for Avery's position but evidently did not qualify.).
CANDIDATES FOR OTHER COMMISSION RACES:
District 1, Position 1: Republicans Charles Fineberg, Mike Ritz, and Mike Rude; Democrat Gweldolyn Brooks-Owen.
District 2, Position 2: Democrats Henri Brooks, Melvin Burgess II, Reginald Fentress, Teddy King, and Joseph Moore. Novella Smith Arnold carries the Republican standard.
District 3, Position 1: Democrats Del Gill, James Harvey, Johnny Hatcher, Bob Hatton, Adrian Killebrew, Clifford Lewis, Georgia Malone, and Paul Springer.
District 3, Position 3: Democrats Joe Ford, the incumbent, and Walter Payne.
District 4, Position 2: Incumbent Republican Tom Moss has two primary opponents, Jim Bomprezzi and Wyatt Bunker.
District 5: Republican Bruce Thomp-son is unopposed in is primary, but Democrats Joe Cooper, Sherman Perkins Kilamanjaro, and Steve Mulroy.
CANDIDATES FOR OTHER COUNTYWIDE RACES:
County Clerk: Democrats Charlotte B. Draper, Otis Jackson, Zolton Scales, and Joe Young will vie, as will Republicans Debbie Stamson and Marilyn Loeffel.
Criminal Court Clerk: Democrats Kevin Gallagher and Vernon Johnson Sr. will compete for the right to take on incumbent Republican Bill Key.
District Attorney General: Republican incumbent Bill Gibbons and Democrat Gail Mathes are unopposed in their primaries.
Juvenile Court Clerk: Democrats Wilma F. Foster, Wanda Halbert, and former clerk Shep Wilbun with compete for the right to oppose Republican incumbent Steve Stamson, who is unopposed in his primary.
Probate Court Clerk: Democrats Sondra Becton and Leon Dishmon vie for the right to oppose GOP incumbent Chris Thomas.
Register: Incumbent Republican Tom Leatherwood and Democrat Coleman Thompson are unopposed in their primaries.
Sheriff: Incumbent Republican Mark Luttrell has no primary opposition; Democratic candidates include Bennie Cobb, Reginald French, Elton Hymon, and Jesse Jeff.
Trustee: Incumbent Republican Bob Patterson and Democrat Becky Clark are unopposed in their primaries.
Independent candidates have until April 6th to file for the above offices.
The countywide general election will be held on August 3rd.