Otis Sanford: Tennessee is gearing up for the 2018 elections

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Political campaigns are continuing to gear up for a 2018 election season in Tennessee that going to be like none other.

Most of the attention statewide will be on the race for governor and the U.S. Senate, where tens of millions of dollars will be spent for two open seats that will help dictate Tennessee politics going forward.

There will also be plenty of jockeying for elected offices in Shelby County, ranging from mayor to the county commission, sheriff and various clerk positions.

The filing period to run for county offices started Friday and local candidates will be using every trick available to break through to voters.

With a ton of candidates expected on the county ballot, name recognition will be the key, which is why you're already seeing elected officials who are term limited in their current jobs picking up petitions to run for other open seats.

Even a couple of familiar City Council members who must give up those positions in 2019 are looking to move on a year early to county posts.

That's quite a lot for most voters to digest, but the 2018 elections will be crucial. They will determine if Republicans continue their dominance of most countywide offices or if Democrats can finally break through and pick up seats.

The first round of voting is six months away and the hype is just beginning.