Memphis City Council District 7 race comes down to the wire
Commercial Appeal: By Michael Lollar
Thursday, November 10, 2011

Polls open at 7 a.m. today for the last leg of the City Council District 7 runoff race, with Lee Harris and Kemba Ford in an election both predicted will be a virtual photo-finish.

"If I were a gambler, I wouldn't bet on this race," said Ford spokeswoman Pat Rogers. "It's going to be a nail-biter. It's kind of like the Michael Jackson trial. Everybody's waiting for the verdict to come in."

Harris also predicted a close finish and cast himself as the underdog. "We're up against a name brand, a very prominent political family." But, he said, "If I had to bet I'd bet the folks in District 7 are ready for a change."

Harris' campaign manager, Shelby County Young Democrats chairman Terry Spicer, predicted that Harris, a 33-year-old Yale-educated business law professor at the University of Memphis, will get his strongest support from Mud Island neighbors.

Both candidates live on Mud Island, but Harris easily defeated Ford in that precinct in the Oct. 6 election. Her strongest support in that election was at Dave Wells Community Center, where she got 33.9 percent of the vote, Spicer said. The two runoff candidates defeated 12 others in the municipal election. Eleven of those candidates endorsed Harris in the runoff.

Ford, a 37-year-old former actress, said she left Los Angeles to return to Memphis to offer her assistance after the indictment of her father, state Rep. John Ford, on bribery charges.

The candidates were separated by only four votes in the Oct. 6 election, with Harris first.

Polls close at 7 p.m. with both candidates planning to campaign up until the last minute. Rogers said Ford will be knocking on doors and campaigning at voting precincts before heading for her headquarters at the AFSCME Local 1733 offices. Harris said he will spend the day at Corning Elementary School in Frayser where he plans to vote, then return to his headquarters on Chelsea just east of Hollywood for the vote count.

To learn about voting locations, call the Shelby County Election Commission at (901) 222-1200 or go to the website at . The Election Commission is Downtown at 150 Washington Ave., on the second floor.

-- Michael Lollar: (901) 529-2793