Democrats sweep Shelby County’s countywide races

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The cheers lasted all night for Shelby County Democrats. They now have the two highest-profile positions in the county: Floyd Bonner as sheriff and Lee Harris as mayor.

“They wanted to talk about investments in education. They wanted to talk about meaningful opportunities for their kids. And they wanted to talk about how we move this community forward. That resonated and we just kept build and building,” Harris said.

Democrat Raumesh Akbari has been in office since 2013. The state representative won her primary Thursday against outgoing County Commissioner Justin Ford to move in to the State Senate.

“I felt like I built a lot of relationships in the house but Memphis needs great legislators in the senate as well and I thought I had a place there," she said.

She acknowledged: Her party was in a bad place a year ago. Candidates didn’t trust each other. They had to reboot after the May primaries.

“Some of the candidates ... everyone didn’t feel comfortable with them, but now we had a good slate of candidates who work together and put party over person, and I think that paid off for every position,” she said of the 2018 races.

Now, the tide has turned.

“Everyone keeps saying the blue wave is coming. I think for Shelby County it hit last night," she said.

Shelby County Democratic Party chair Corey Strong released a statement to WREG:

"This amazing group of public servants took their message of people first policies to every corner of Shelby County and the voters rewarded them with their votes and a historic sweep of county wide offices— including some that have never been held by an elected Democrat."

Some said the Democratic Party's lawsuit against the Election Commission before early voting might've also galvanized voters.

Shelby County Republican Party Chairman Lee Mills said he thinks Republican complacency and apathy contributed to Thursday night’s wins for Democrats.

According to data released by the Shelby County Election Commission, of the 69,158 ballots cast, 29,395 were Republican, 38,362 were Democratic and 1,401 were for the general elections only.

► See complete election results here.