Turns out a famous name isn’t enough to win an election in Shelby County

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Two big names on the ballot this election season did not get the win.

Lee Harris defeated Ophelia Ford, and DA Amy Weirich beat out former TV Judge Joe Brown. Candidates we spoke to say taking on these big names in politics is always in the back of your head when you sign up to run.

“You had an electorate that was really thinking before they voted here,” WREG commentator Otis Sanford said.

He says the voters went to the polls well informed and voted for the most qualified candidate instead of the most well-known.

“Voters really want some representation. Name or no name. “

Ford is the biggest last name in Memphis politics, and this go around, one of the Ford’s lost to someone fairly new in the political world. Harris, a city council member, beat Ford to become the Democratic nominee for the State Senate 29th District. As a matter of fact, the long-time incumbent finished in third place.

Harris said, “We didn't have history on our side. There's no doubt about it. The ford brand is a strong brand. The history of the Ford service is known all over.”

So instead of focusing on name recognition, Harris focused on service and facts.

Sanford said, “All of her absences from the state legislature just this past session was quite telling. Lee Harris did a good job of laying that out. “

But Harris will tell you before he decided to run that Ford name weighed heavily on his mind.

“One has to pause, when you`re up against all that history, before you enter into the fray.”

The fray in the District Attorney race got down and dirty. Brown, famous for his outrageous comments saw it work against him, giving Weirich one of the biggest wins of the night.

“He was running on the power of his personality,” Sanford said. “And he was very abrasive. The voters got turned off when he attacked the sexuality of Amy Weirich.”

So is this a changing of the guard here in Memphis or just a streak? We'll have to wait and see how the candidates approach their campaigns in the next election season.


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