Ryan Poe, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee
The Memphis City Council will choose one of seven candidates Tuesday to temporarily fill the council seat recently resigned by Philip Spinosa Jr.
The seven candidates to turn in 25 qualifying signatures were Charley Burch, a real estate agent and music veteran who ran as a Democrat in a 2016 House of Representatives race; J. Ford Canale, a funeral director and head golf coach at Christian Brothers High; Jimmy Lewis; Lisa Moore; Kenneth Whalum Jr., pastor of New Olivet Baptist Church; Marvin White; and Erika Sugarmon, a teacher at White Station High. Other than Burch, a resident of Cordova, the candidates all claimed East Memphis.
An eighth candidate, Tim Ware, a business consultant and the former executive director of the Achievement School District, applied but didn’t have enough valid signatures.
The council will make its interim appointment for the Super District 9, position 2, seat during its meeting Tuesday.
The interim council member will serve until a special election Aug. 2, further crowding a ballot already stuffed with candidates for county positions, including mayor and sheriff, and for the primaries in the governor’s race — not to mention a rash of referendums.
Of the seven people who have picked up petitions to possibly run for the seat in August, four applied for the interim appointment: Burch, Canale, Sugarmon and Ware. The other candidates eyeing an August run are Paul Boyd, who lost his Probate Court clerk re-election bid in the Republican primary election; Tyrone Franklin, a resident of Raleigh; and Stephanie Gatewood, former Memphis City Schools board member who just lost to Tami Sawyer in the Democratic primary for a Shelby County Commission seat.
The council could have several other appointments coming up after the August elections. Council member Edmund Ford Jr. is running for Shelby County Commission, Janis Fullilove for Juvenile Court clerk, and Bill Morrison for Probate Court clerk. If they’re elected, they take office Sept. 1, leaving their seats temporarily vacant.
Spinosa, who was elected to Super District 9 in 2015, resigned his seat and his job at FedEx Services in May to accept a position as senior vice president of the Greater Memphis Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle, following in the steps of former council member and then senior vice president of the Chairman’s Circle Shea Flinn.