It looks like early voting in the last election of 2011 will top 1,000.
The race is the runoff contest for Memphis City Council District 7 between Lee Harris and Kemba Ford.
Through Wednesday, Nov. 2, 811 citizens in the district of approximately 59,000 had voted early. Wednesday had the largest single day turnout since the early voting period opened Oct. 21 with 156 early voters at the three locations.
Early voting continues through Saturday. Election day is Nov. 10.
Harris finished ahead of Ford in the 14 candidate field by four votes with each getting 24 percent of the vote to finish at the top.
The campaign is a contrast in methods. Ford, an actress and the daughter of former state Senator John Ford, is relying heavily on the Ford name – the city’s best known political family that has held the district 6 seat on the council since 1972 when her father claimed it in the first ever upset of a council incumbent – James Netters.
She is banking on continued support from some local municipal labor unions and a lot of yard signs driving home the name recognition.
Harris, a University of Memphis Law School professor who ran in the 2006 9th Congressional district Democratic primary, has to date avoided directly making the point that Ford’s election would mean two Fords on the 13 member council or mentioning Ford by name.
He’s used a lot of direct mail as well as robo-call endorsements to voters in the district. He has also rounded up the endorsements of most of the other contenders in the Oct. 6 race and already had the backing of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. going into Oct. 6 when Wharton decided to make endorsements in several council races.
In mailboxes across the district today will be a new direct mail piece that is a shift in the campaign for Harris.
The mailer is titled “Is Kemba Ford Ready?” It’s a comparison of Harris and Ford based on their scores from the not for profit group Coalition for a Better Memphis. The group also published the responses to its extensive questionnaire and Harris has included his response and hers to questions about qualifications, education and vision.