Today voters in Robertson and Sumner Counties who reside in the 18th Senate District will choose a replacement for now-U.S. Rep. Diane Black. One of Black’s rivals in last year’s GOP congressional primary, Kerry Roberts, faces Portland Mayor Ken Wilber, a Democrat.
Roberts is an accountant from Springfield. Wilber is a longtime public official in Portland. Political consultant Matthew Hurtt, in an endorsement of Roberts, says the Republican enjoyed a fundraising advantage, likely due to the help of another former congressional candidate (Jeff Hartline); but that Democrats will be mustering their get-out-the-vote efforts. Turnout is decidedly more critical in special elections than on regular election days.
Another open seat to be officially filled by today’s election is in the 98th House District. Rep. Antonio “2 Shay” Parkinson won the Democratic primary in January, and as there were no other candidates in the general election, was sworn into office after being appointed by the Shelby County Commission. The district was previously represented by the late Ulysses Jones, who passed away last November.
Last but not least, there is a citywide ballot measure for voters in Memphis. The referendum asks whether the administration of the Memphis City School System should be transferred to the Shelby County Board of Education. Should the voters decide affirmatively, the transition would be subject to a state law passed last month which dictates a merger process for Shelby County.
The polls are open today from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. CST in the applicable precincts.