The window for early voting in the Memphis City Council Runoff Election for District 7 had been open about five hours when candidate Michalyn Easter-Thomas and a bevy of supporters made a move crafted to thrust her toward a victory over incumbent Berlin Boyd.
The move was a press conference to formally note that five people who sought the District 7 seat in the nine-candidate race during the Oct. 3 Municipal Election now were lined up in support of Easter-Thomas. With the Office @ Uptown, 594 N. Second St. as the rallying point, she welcomed the backing of former candidates on hand and some who were not.
Meanwhile, Boyd, who embraces the campaign theme “Taking Action, Getting Results,” took to social media, urging his supporters to take advantage of early voting.
“Our community needs a leader who can get results for YOU. Let’s continue to create progress in our neighborhoods,” Boyd posted Friday.
“I’d like to thank everyone for your support so far in this election,” he posted on Thursday. “We’ve accomplished a lot as a community, but there is still work to do.”
Calling the supportive former candidates “partners in progress,” Easter-Thomas, an educator, named off Jerred Price, Will Richardson, Larry Springfield, Catrina Smith and Thurston Smith. Referencing them, she said, I know your heart is in it for the people of North Memphis, Uptown, Frazier, Harbor Town, Klondike, Smokey City, Douglass, Hyde Park, Raleigh, Crosstown, Nutbush, Victorian Village and Hollywood.
“I am truly humbled and appreciative of this vote of confidence from individuals who I know will always keep the people at the forefront of their commitment to our community.”
Early Voting for the Nov. 14 RunOff Election extends through Nov. 9.
A runoff between the top two candidates are mandated when no candidate for a City Council district position gets 50 percent or more of the vote in a Municipal Election. Seven candidates campaigned for the District 7 seat, including Boyd, who garnered 30 percent of the vote. Easter-Thomas polled 20 percent.
Easter-Thomas said she hoped that “this act of solidarity will signal to the voters of City Council District 7 that we are unified and our people demand new leadership. …Change is coming to District 7. It is our pledge to bring pride, respect, honesty, accessibility, and, most importantly, the will of the people back to our district.”
The Early Voting period for the District 7 and District 1 (Rhonda Logan vs. Sherman Greer) runoffs started at 9 a.m. Friday. Eligible voters could cast ballots at the Shelby County Office Building, 157 Poplar Ave., until 5 p.m. Today (Oct. 26), votes can be cast from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Five other Early-Voting locations will be open starting Nov. 1.
Price said he wanted each of the 971 people who voted for him to do for Easter-Thomas what they did for him.
“She needs you, our community needs you, we need you as a city. It’s time to make change,” he said. “Get out, vote, let your voice be heard. And like Michalyn said, your voice is appreciated and valued.”
Also pitching Easter-Thomas’ candidacy was the Rev. Dr. William A. “Bill” Adkins Jr., pastor of Greater Imani Church (The Cathedral of Faith) in Raleigh.
“Our district has been underrepresented and misrepresented for too long. We hurt miserably for representation that would speak to our issues in our community,” Adkins said.
“The current person in office seems to have no sense of responsibility to the constituency that helped put him in office. So it’s time for a change.”
Jeffrey Lichtenstein, executive secretary of the AFL-CIO in Memphis, said Easter-Thomas had collected the endorsement of nearly every labor union in the city.
“The incumbent — time and again — has voted against working people” and directed city money to developers or companies “that are not accountable to working folks. Michalyn has always been on the picket line … always supported working people and our needs.”
Asked about her priorities regarding representing District 7, Easter-Thomas said, “The No. 1 thing we’re looking at is how to increase accessibility and opportunity for people in our district and our city to engage in what their rights are.”
District 7 Municipal Election Results
Source: Shelby County Election Commission Election Night Results (https://electioncommission.shelbycountytn.gov/ElectionResults/)