free for readers

Two City Council Super District 9 incumbents face challengers

By , Daily Memphian Updated: September 14, 2023 4:00 AM CT | Published: September 14, 2023 4:00 AM CT
This is the last in The Daily Memphian’s previews of the City Council races on the Oct. 5 ballot. The stories are being made available to all readers.

A third of Memphis City Council Super District 9’s representation is already all but decided.

Council member Dr. Jeff Warren, barring an unforeseen write-in campaign, will be re-elected to the City Council in District 9 Position 3. 

Two of three seats in council Super District 8 to change hands

That leaves two contested seats in Super District 9, which covers largely the eastern half of the city.

In the two contested races, the incumbents each face one challenger. Here’s what each candidate had to say about their candidacy. 

Super District 9-1

Chase Carlisle

Carlisle, a businessman and City Council member, said like nearly every other candidate that the city needs to get crime under control. He has been critical on social media of new cash bail policies. 

Carlisle has worked hard to learn how city government operates and functions. He noted he helped move the council through budget season as the council’s budget chairman. The budget included raises for public safety employees and no tax increase. 

He said he wants to continue the work the current council has started and noted that the council, when elected in 2019, had a steep learning curve amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the death of George Floyd and later the death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis. 

Two challengers look to unseat incumbent in District 6 race

“You’ve seen me at City Hall. I’ve found common ground with my colleagues,” Carlisle said. “And I think we can continue to do that.” 

Benji Smith

Smith is a former dance business owner who now runs a dance flooring business. 

Smith said he’s a different type of “critter” than most politicians. 

“I don’t match up well for many folks. And that is because I’m not afraid to think out of the box. I’m not afraid to ask questions that other people are skittish about,” Smith said. 

Smith said crime would be reduced if the city invested more in youth initiatives and he said the city should hold the companies selling the cars that are broken into most often accountable for the crime he believes they are causing. 

Two candidates vie for District 4 council seat that each sees as their own

He said he was running because he had seen the city in a perpetual state of decline since he had moved to Memphis about 31 years ago. 

Super District 9-2

J. Ford Canale

Canale is a mortician and City Council member. His family has roots in the city dating back to the 19th century, said he feels a compulsion to give back to the city that has given a lot to his family. 

“We have a lot to offer here. And it takes good leadership to make sure that we can continue to sustain the city for future generations,” Canale said. 

He, like nearly every candidate, said the city needs to bring its crime numbers down and while he is not sure the city needs to get back into the business of education, he feels the city needs more after-school programming and enhancements at community centers to help curtail crime. 

Five compete for open City Council District 3 seat

He said local governments need to work better together. 

“Operating in silos doesn’t help anyone as far as future success, major success as a city. We’re never going to get there if we don’t work together,” Canale said. 

Brandon Washington

Washington is a Rhodes College student and community advocate.

He has been a community advocate for years and he said it’s important for him to speak up to better the lives of young people in Memphis and across the nation. 

He said he’s running for office because he feels current leadership is only thinking about short-term solutions, not long-term solutions. 

Washington said the city needs further investment in youth programming and it needs the Memphis Area Transit Authority to be reliable for people who need it. He said he would be a fierce advocate for his constituents.

“Once I realize that something is beneficial for people, I’m going to be really adamant about advocating for that thing because I know it’s better for people,” Washington said. 


Memphis City Council 2023 elections Dr. Jeff Warren Chase Carlisle J. Ford Canale
Samuel Hardiman

Samuel Hardiman

Samuel Hardiman is an enterprise and investigative reporter who focuses on local government and politics. A native Rhode Islander who lives in Midtown, there’s a good chance he is Midtown Donuts' top customer.


Want to comment on our stories or respond to others? Join the conversation by subscribing now. Only paid subscribers can add their thoughts or upvote/downvote comments. Our commenting policy can be viewed here