Most of the hot stove political conversation this year has been, to date, focused on this year’s mayor’s race. Not to be lost in the glare of the top elected spot lights are the 7 council races that will also be on the November ballot.
There will be at least 3 new faces on the Council once the dust clears from the primary and run off elections. Jeff Everson (District B), Oliver Jenkins (District C) and Michael Corbin (District E) have “termed out”. They have served 2 consecutive 4 year terms and can not seek re-election this year.
Willie Bradford (District A), James Flurry (District E), Stephanie Lynch (District F), and Jerry Bowman (District G) are expected to run again. Lynch wore a ”Re-Elect Stephanie Lynch City Council District F” tee shirt to a January council work session. Flurry had a re-election fundraiser on March 6.
Voter demographics are always important, and especially this year when one or two districts could be “the swing district”. This reference is to “swinging” the Council from a white to a black majority.
District A is a solid black district, with 81% of the voters African American, 15% white and 4% others. By party, 69% of the voters are Democrats, 10% are Republicans and 21% are other party. Bradford upset the incumbent Rose McCulloch when he ran in 2013.
District B is the likely district to elect its first African American council representative. Voter registration as of March 1 of this years reflected 57% registered black voters, 38% white voters and 5% others. The party breakdown is 55% Democrat, 28% other, and 17% Republican. Everson defeated blacks candidates in both his elections in the run-offs.
District C is the largest white voter district. Voters are 79% white, 16% black and 5% other. By party, the registration is 43% Republican, 30% Democrat and 27% others. Jenkins ran unopposed for re-election in 2013.
District D has the largest number of registered voters with 4000 more voters than the next 2 largest districts (G and E). Voter composition is 73% white, 21% black and 6% other. By party the voters are 48% Republican, 30% Democrats and 22% other party.
District E could also be a swing district. The incumbent Flurry is a white Republican. The ratio of voters by race is 51% white, 45% black, and 4% others. Party wise, 51% of voters are Democrats, 45% are others and 4% are Republicans. Flurry swamped an An African-American candidate in his 2013 runoff victory.
District F has the largest black concentration of voters of the 7 districts. Voters are 90% black, 7% are white and 3 % are others. By party, 72% are Democrats, 24 % are others and 4% are Republicans. This election could be a rematch of the Lynch- James Green 2013 battle.
District G voters are 78% black, 18% white and 4% other. By party, 69% are Democrats, 11% are Republicans and 20% are other party. Bowman was a surprising primary victory over several opponents in 2013.
Not to be confused with the raw registration voter numbers are the numbers of “active voters”. In many districts, voters on the rolls have either moved out of the district and not re-registered or have become virtually non-existent at the polls. Those seeking office have many filters to utilize in deciding which voters should be actively pursued and what method of communication is the best in today world of social media.