You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

City Hall Notebook: What's next for partisan primaries; what happens to Swearengen's seat?

Commercial Appeal Memphis logo Commercial Appeal Memphis 6/23/2022 Samuel Hardiman, Memphis Commercial Appeal
Jamita Swearengen, Martavius Jones © Courtesy of The Commercial Appeal Jamita Swearengen, Martavius Jones

Memphis City Councilman Martavius Jones quietly tabled his own ordinance Tuesday and delayed a climactic vote on partisan elections until at least August. 

The City Council had been scheduled to take the third and final vote on the referendum ordinance that would've asked voters in November if they wanted to implement partisan primaries and elections. 

The bill appeared poised to fail at the Council's June 7 meeting but was delayed for two weeks. Faced with uncertain passage again Tuesday, Jones, the sponsor, opted to table the ordinance, which gives him the flexibility of bringing it back at any time. 

Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

"I had a couple of conversations with some community people who want to have some discussions about it.... I haven't had the opportunity to flesh things out with them. It could garner more support. That's the indicator that I've received. We just haven't had an opportunity to have those meetings," Jones said. 

Jones said he would bring the ordinance off the table at one of the Council's two meetings in August. 

If Swearengen leaves council, what happens to seat

Memphis City Council Chairwoman Jamita Swearengen did not want to take the August general election for granted Tuesday. The Democratic nominee for Shelby Circuit Court Clerk declined to comment on what would happen if she's elected Aug. 4. 

"I have accomplished one round and have another to go," Swearengen said. "I don't know. We have to see if I'm elected. Because if I'm not elected, I'll be here until 2023."

Swearengen faces Soheila Kail, a Republican from Germantown in the general election. And while the councilwoman didn't want to tempt fate Tuesday, the consensus around Memphis City Hall is that the 13-member body is going to have a vacancy soon. 

The Memphis City Charter lays out a specific procedure for filling a vacancy, the body either appoints a replacement who serves until the seat can be filled or there is a special election at the next available county general election. 

That's where things get interesting. The county general election is Aug. 4. The next general election is the state and federal general election Nov. 8. That would, potentially, give the City Council time to set a special election for the vacant District 4 seat. 

District 4 covers the southern stretches of Cooper-Young, Orange Mound and most of South Memphis — getting into the Elliston Heights, Prospect Park and Alcy-Ball neighborhoods with the western border largely being Elvis Presley Boulevard. It also stretches east along Interstate 240 and Nonconnah Creek until it touches District 3 near the intersection of Mount Moriah Road and American Way. 

MPD gets small sum for 'mass-casualty' incident

The City Council accepted about $13,000 in federal grant funds for a mass casualty incident. It left some, including the Memphis Holler Twitter account, wondering when there was a mass-casualty incident. 

MPD Assistant Chief Shawn Jones said it was reimbursement for overtime incurred when the police department sent 50 officers to Collierville when a gunman opened fire at a Kroger last September.

Samuel Hardiman covers Memphis city government and politics for The Commercial Appeal. He can be reached by email at samuel.hardiman@commercialappeal.com or followed on Twitter at @samhardiman. 

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: City Hall Notebook: What's next for partisan primaries; what happens to Swearengen's seat?

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Commercial Appeal, Memphis

Commercial Appeal Memphis
Commercial Appeal Memphis
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon