Campaign Started To Remove Commissioner Ritz From Office

(Memphis) – A fight is forming within the Republican Party in Shelby County.

Some members of the Shelby County GOP have launched a campaign to recall the election of County Commission Chairman Mike Ritz.

It was announced Sunday afternoon at their local convention.

“I was at Kroger needing to pick up a few things,” said Mick Wright to convention members. He was not sharing his latest grocery run, but his plan to recall the election Commissioner Ritz.

“The clerk was scanning the last few things in my cart, she got to the last one and I said, ‘I didn’t choose that’,” he said.

Members may not have realized where Wright was going, but he pulled out a box of Ritz crackers. The crowd laughed.

“I don’t see that he votes with our side much,” said Yvonne Burton. “It’s a rarity.”

It’s not something leaders within the party are going to tolerate. Burton is part of a group campaigning to remove Ritz from office.

“It mainly has to do with the schools, but it has to do with a lot of the issues too,” she said.

Issues like Ritz working to pass a sales tax increase, a property tax increase as well as a million dollar lawsuit filed by the commission against municipalities over the schools.

Wright went on, “I called up Nabisco and said ever since I got Ritz, I’m having to fight a sales tax increase, my property tax is going up and now I’m suing myself.”

Right now, Burton says they’re raising the funds for the recall, but after they pull the petition, they’ll have 75 days to get the signatures of more than 20,000 registered voters in Ritz’s district. It’s something that could prove difficult.

“We just want to send the message that it is not acceptable. If you’re going to run as a republican, you should act like republican,” said Burton.

A message is all they may be sending. If the group gets the required signatures, the election commission says voters in that district would then have to turn out to a special recall election at a 50 percentile in order to unseat Ritz.

News Channel 3 reached out to the commission chairman today, but never heard back.

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