Blog: Election night in Memphis wraps with new mayor, three council seats headed for runoff

By , Daily Memphian Updated: October 06, 2023 3:52 PM CT | Published: October 05, 2023 7:10 AM CT

Here’s a look back at Election Day in Memphis, from voter turnout to results in the mayoral and City Council races

City Council District 3 race heads for runoff with Pearl Walker, James Kirkwood

11:43 PM CT, October 5

Pearl Eva Walker and James Kirkwood will enter a Nov. 16 run-off in the Memphis City Council District 3 race.

Walker earned 28% of the vote, and Kirkwood earned 24%. 

District 2 City Council seat headed for a runoff

A majority of votes cast is required for a winner to be declared in single-member council districts. If no candidate gets a majority, the top two advance to a runoff. 

Towanna Murphy finished a very close third with 22%.

Read More


Seven City Council incumbents reelected; eighth heads for runoff

11:32 PM CT, October 5

Memphis voters returned at least seven of eight incumbents to the City Council Thursday, Oct. 5, for a second four-year term, with one incumbent apparently bound for a November runoff.

According to unofficial results, incumbents Rhonda Logan, Jana Swearengen-Washington, Edmund Ford Sr., Chase Carlisle and Ford Canale overcame challengers.

They are joined by Super District incumbents JB Smiley and Jeff Warren, both of whom ran unopposed.

Meanwhile, in the two Super District races without an incumbent, Janika White and Yolanda Cooper-Sutton were elected to the council that takes office in January.

Read More


Spinosa captures District 5 council seat

10:16 PM CT, October 5

Phillip Spinosa defeated Meggan Kiel and a second challenger for the District 5 Memphis City Council seat held by term-limited Worth Morgan.

With all precincts reporting, the unofficial vote showed Spinosa with 8,860 votes, or 53.5%, compared to 6,936 votes, or 41.9%, for Kiel. Luke Hatler, a student at White Station High School, had 721 votes, or nearly 4.4%.

The unofficial totals are subject to approval by the Shelby County Election Commission.

Paul Young outpaces three strong challengers to take mayor’s seat

“I want to sincerely thank the voters of Memphis who chose me to represent them. I will fight for all Memphians,” Spinosa said by text. He did not return phone calls.

Read More


District 2 City Council seat headed for a runoff

10:51 PM CT, October 5

The race for the District 2 Memphis City Council seat will advance to a runoff after no single candidate emerged with a majority of the vote. 

Scott McCormick and Jerri Green will now go head to head on Nov. 16 to see who will take the spot. 

The seat was formerly held by Frank Colvett, who is term-limited and could not run again. Colvett was in the running for the mayor’s office but announced July 27 he was dropping out. 

The top issue for the candidates running in District 2, which covers East Memphis, parts of Cordova and Hickory Hill, was crime.

Read More


Despite mayoral loss, Turner will keep ‘doing what’s best’ for Memphis

10:27 PM CT, October 5

Van Turner conceded his run for Memphis mayor just past 10 p.m. Thursday night, Oct. 5.

Mayor-elect Paul Young declared victory minutes before Turner’s concession. 

Floyd Bonner Jr. and Willie Herenton already had conceded to Young.

Paul Young outpaces three strong challengers to take mayor’s seat

Turner thanked his team for their help during the campaign.

Read More


Memphis election 2023: Full results for mayor, city council races

10:23 PM CT, October 5

The results are in for Election Day 2023 in Memphis. 

Memphis Mayor election results

Below is the voting numbers breakdown among the 17 candidates for Memphis mayor, with Paul Young winner with 24, 408 votes (27.6%). 

Memphis City Council election results

Below is the full voting numbers breakdown of all the City Council races, with winners noted in red.

Read More


Paul Young outpaces three strong challengers to take mayor’s seat

9:55 PM CT, October 5

In the span of the year, Paul Young went from a novice politician to the city’s highest office. 

Young won the Memphis mayor’s office Thursday, Oct. 5, after running a campaign in which he stitched together a coalition of voters across the city with a message of hope and progress that pushed him to the top of the crowded, 17-person field. 

Blog: Election night in Memphis wraps with new mayor, three council seats headed for runoff

“This is not a me thing. This is a we thing,” Young said.

“The city that we love, the city that people forgot about, the one that they want to write off ... it’s time for us to write the next pages of Memphis history,” Young said.

Read More


Herenton concedes, congratulates Young in mayor’s race

9:50 PM CT, October 5

Former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton conceded his race for another shot at the city’s top office on Thursday, Oct. 5.

Herenton spoke to supporters at around 9:45 p.m. Thursday at his campaign headquarters, 1925 S. Third St.

Bonner concedes Memphis mayor’s race

“Quite frankly, we don’t think it’s probable that we can bridge the gap,” Herenton said.

“I’m going to call Mr. Mayor, Paul Young, and congratulate him on his victory.”

Read More


Bonner concedes Memphis mayor’s race

9:23 PM CT, October 5

Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner Jr. has conceded his run for Memphis mayor.

He took the stage at his election night party at about 9:18 p.m. to address and thank the crowd.

Blog: Election night in Memphis wraps with new mayor, three council seats headed for runoff

“We thank you, thank you, thank you,” Bonner said.

“All of us want the best for Memphis.”

Read More


Young maintaining lead as precinct totals trickle in

8:45 PM CT, October 5

Paul Young appeared to be maintaining his lead in the race for Memphis mayor as precincts were rolling in Thursday night.

As of 8:35 p.m., 10 of 98 precincts were reporting along with the early and absentee vote. Combined, Young had 28% to Floyd Bonner Jr.’s 23%. 

Right behind them was former Mayor Willie Herenton with 22% and Van Turner with 20%.

The vote totals were:

Read More


Mayoral candidate Young takes absentee, early vote by 2,600-vote margin

7:46 PM CT, October 5

Memphis mayoral contender Paul Young took the early vote in the 2023 city elections.

Young had a narrow 2,608-vote margin over Shelby County Floyd Bonner Jr., with former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton trailing Bonner closely and former county commissioner Van Turner in fourth.

Election Day precincts are expected to follow in the vote count.

Blog: Election night in Memphis wraps with new mayor, three council seats headed for runoff

The 14-day early voting period drew nearly 58,000 voters with a turnout bigger than Thursday’s Election Day across the city, although the Oct. 5 turnout had something of an evening rush- according to Shelby County Elections Administrator Linda Phillips.

Read More


Memphis polls ‘gotten a lot busier’

6:44 PM CT, October 5

As the evening rush hour was underway, Oct. 5, some Memphis polls got busier, said Shelby County Elections Administrator Linda Phillips.

“I’m hearing from my poll workers that it’s gotten a lot busier,” Phillips told The Daily Memphian in an early evening update.

She attributed the delayed reaction to voters having a hard time deciding on a person to support in the 17-candidate field in the mayor’s race.

Up to 3:30 p.m., election commission numbers showed an Election Day turnout of 16,830 compared to almost 58,000 voters during the early voting period.

Read More


St. Paul Baptist Church sees fewer than 300 voters as of 5:15 p.m.

6:16 PM CT, October 5

As of 5:15 p.m., there had been 268 voters at St. Paul Baptist Church, 2124 E. Holmes Road, in District 3, according to Morgan Johnson, deputy officer for the polling location.

Johnson said traffic followed “patterns of normal daytime civilian behavior.” There was a small spike when the polls opened at 7 a.m., with another rush at lunchtime, another after school and one more after around 5 p.m. when people were getting off.

Lavonda Woods had been handing out flyers for Memphis City Council Super District 8-3 candidate Brian Harris since 7 a.m.

She said she voted for Willie Herenton for Memphis mayor, because she knows from his past time as mayor how good of a job he did.

Read More


At Mount Pisgah: ‘People in this precinct vote’

5:29 PM CT, October 5

William Campbell worked all day at his security job at Save-A-Lot at South Third and Shelby Drive, then dropped into his precinct at Mount Pisgah M.B. Church, 3636 Weaver Road. He was torn between Van Turner and Floyd Bonner. He voted for Turner.

“I went for the young guy because Memphis needs new blood,” he said.

By 4:50, 203 people had cast their ballots at Mount Pisgah, where former MCS board member Sharon Webb was the presiding official.

“The people in this precinct vote. They take a lot of pride in voting. We get quite a few young people too,” she said.

Read More


Voters show up to Second Baptist Church on Election Day

5:09 PM CT, October 5

Shortly before 3:30 p.m., Second Baptist Church on Walnut Grove Road said about 405 people had voted. Until after 4 p.m., there was a steady stream of voters with a slight uptick as the afternoon went on, likely due to the after-school hours.

Campaign workers were busy waving signs and handing out pamphlets during chilly breezes. There were slight breaks from the rain.

Scott Anderson voted at the church and noted there were more stops inside due to the new voting machines.

Four mayoral candidates spent $1.76M combined over summer

“If there were more voters, it would’ve been a pain in the butt,” he said.

Read More


Oak Grove host to socializing as well as voting

5:05 PM CT, October 5

The poll workers for the combined precincts voting at Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church on Joubert in South Memphis are wrapping up in the steady rain what has been a steady run of socializing.

Several, including June Williams, spent early voting at Abundant Grace Church on Shelby Drive.

“You meet different people. It’s extravagant!”

The crew brought a karaoke set one day. Candidates and their staff brought in wings and BBQ.

Read More


Janika White says Memphis voters want ‘the basics’

5:01 PM CT, October 5

Janika White, a candidate for Super District 8-2, worked for votes at Whitehaven Community Center, a key precinct, on Thursday, Oct. 5.

She said her strategy on Election Day was to cover as many polls as possible.

“For us, it’s simply being seen, making sure we have people on all the polls,” White said. “It’s been a rainy day, so we’ve had to pivot some.”

More trivia: Memphis City Council fun facts

She said while it’s important to be seen on Election Day, she had also heard from voters that they want to see her all the time if she’s elected, not just when looking for votes.

Read More


Greater Galatian Baptist Church logs ‘steady’ flow of voters

4:47 PM CT, October 5

At Greater Galatian Baptist Church on Jackson Avenue, 316 voters had cast their ballots by 3 p.m.

For Midtown resident Mona Wanless, it was a “toss up” between Paul Young and Van Turner, but she said she was voting for Turner.

Election Day voter turnout climbs to 16,830

“Because he’s young, and because I think that we need somebody of color to step into the position of mayor and really make a difference for Memphis,” Wanless said.

Supporters of Floyd Bonner Jr., Turner and Young sat in a corner of the church’s parking lot with respective campaign signs. A car plastered with Young campaign information was parked across the church on Maple Drive.

Read More


More trivia: Memphis City Council fun facts

4:34 PM CT, October 5

The Memphis City Council races on Thursday’s ballot have largely been in the shadow of the 17-candidate field for mayor.

The races are, however, important decisions with each voter selecting four council members – one district council member and three super district council members.

Here are some trivia points for the council.

When did the first council take office?

The first 13-member council was elected in 1967 and took office in January 1968. Six weeks into their term, city sanitation workers went on strike.

Read More


Election Day voter turnout climbs to 16,830

3:56 PM CT, October 5

The Shelby County Election Commission reported that as of 3:30 p.m. Oct. 5, 16,830 people had voted in the Memphis municipal election.

Turnout was 5,800 as of 10 a.m.

It’s is going to be nearly impossible for Election Day turnout to match the 57,000 from early voting.

Meaning overall turnout may very well be under 100,000, unless the afternoon rush hour is epoch-shattering.


Turnout steady at White Station Church of Christ

4:01 PM CT, October 5

Poll workers at White Station Church of Christ said turnout had been steady, but estimated about 300 voters had shown up to cast ballots there on Election Day.

From about 2 p.m. until 3 p.m. there was no wait. Voting took less than five minutes. 

Darrin McCaster was one of those who voted. He said he picked Van Turner for mayor and Meggan Kiel for City Council District 5.

“Meggan, I think she’s pretty good for the job,” he said. “Turner, he’s a young guy and pretty well speaks for what’s right. I think he’s the right guy for the mayor. I’d rather see the younger people come in and try to make their voice heard.”

Read More


Cooper-Young residents vote, one says crime will be solved ‘as a community’

2:59 PM CT, October 5

Steven Twombly, a Cooper-Young resident, voted for Paul Young.

He said he voted for Young because he met him at Cooper-Young Festival and liked what he had to say.

Twombly said Young “seemed down to earth and very intelligent.”

Four mayoral candidates spent $1.76M combined over summer

The biggest issue facing the city is crime, he said. He said the city would solve it “as a community.”

Read More


White Station Church of Christ sees fewer than 20 voters by noon

2:02 PM CT, October 5

Fewer than 20 people voted by noon in the 13-11 precinct at the White Station Church of Christ at 1106 Colonial Road for the mayoral race and District 5 city council seat during the rainy morning of Thursday, Oct. 5.

Walter Hill decided to cast his decision during Election Day. Hill made the decision primarily to vote for the mayor and expressed which candidate was his choice. 

”Floyd Bonner simply because of the law enforcement aspects,” Hill said. “I have family within MPD and that’s the most important thing.”

Bonner is a 42-year law enforcement veteran who is the current Shelby County Sheriff. 

Read More


On the rhythm of a Memphis Election Day

1:32 PM CT, October 5

From the noon update by Shelby County Elections Administrator Linda Phillips on what times are the busiest in the rhythm of a Memphis Election Day:

“It’s actually more connected to precincts. Some precincts will have a large rush after work. Some will be steady all day long. Some have a huge rush in the morning and you could take a nap in the afternoon. It varies a lot by precinct.”


Voters cast their ballots at Lucille McWherter Senior Center

1:18 PM CT, October 5

Eighty-eight voters cast their ballots at the Lucille McWherter Senior Center near Sea Isle Park on Oct. 5, 2023, by 9 a.m.

The senior center had a steady flow of voters and campaigners for Paul Young, Marvin White, Jerri Green and Floyd Bonner.

Tim Tatum, a lifelong Memphian, voted for Floyd Bonner due to his experience with the justice system.

Letter to the Editor: ‘If you want my vote for mayor’

“I just feel like we need someone who is going to lead us into a safer community,” Tatum said. 

Read More


Phillips: ‘Roughly’ 5,800 voters cast ballots, as of 10 a.m.

12:13 PM CT, October 5

Shelby County elections administrator Linda Phillips says “roughly” 5,800 voters had cast ballots as of 10 a.m.

That is a slow morning drive time.

At a noon update Phillips said the relatively short city ballot was taking each voter about 2 minutes to complete.


Council candidate Keith Burks says he’s a ‘soldier for change’

1:15 PM CT, October 5

In District 2’s precinct at Balmoral Presbyterian Church, 6413 Quince Road, city council candidate Keith Burks was campaigning outside of the church with flyers.

On the flyer, Burks’ biggest message is “soldier for change,” as he is a retired veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 21 years. 

One of the biggest problems in Memphis, Burks said, is the crime and how most of that crime is committed by young people. Burks said he wants to put forth new legislation to curtail crime.

The candidate said he is a lifelong Memphian, and that his experiences as a young boy help him relate to the youth today who commit crimes.

Read More


Lunch hour trivia: Memphis city elections fun facts

11:53 AM CT, October 5

How much of this Memphis mayoral history do you know? Here are some fun facts as we near midday on Election Day 2023.

How many mayors has Memphis had since 1967? 

The city has had six mayors since 1967.

This year marks the 17th mayor’s race under the city’s current mayor-council form of government. That includes special elections in 1982 and 2009.

This all began with the 1967 elections for mayor and Memphis City Council after Memphis voters approved a new city charter to replace what was a commission form of government. There have been 15 regularly scheduled elections for the mayor and council seats.

Read More


‘One tough mother’ Jerri Green welcomes voters at senior center

1:40 PM CT, October 5

Jerri Green, a Memphis City Council District 2 candidate, stood outside greeting voters in multiple precincts this morning, including in front of Lucille McWherter Senior Center.

Green said the main thing she and her team have been focusing on is increasing public safety, improving Memphis infrastructure and investing in the next generation. 

“I’m a mother, so I really care about that,” Green said.

Her slogan, “one tough mother,” comes from her love of her kids and the love of her city. 

Read More


‘This is a lot of work’

12:31 PM CT, October 5

“This is a lot of work,” said Towanna Murphy, one of five candidates vying for Memphis City Council District 3 seat. 

Murphy points to her picture on a sign in the middle of the roundabout at the Whitehaven Community Center precinct, 4318 Graceland Drive, joking that she got three shades darker from the hours spent knocking on doors as the sun beat down on her.

Weather on Election Day was a stark contrast to the hot months on the campaign trail.  

A persistent, misty rain speckled everyone’s campaign t-shirts outside the Whitehaven Community Center, including Murphy’s purple shirt urging voters to “Elect Murphy” as they head inside.  

Read More


‘When he was mayor, we didn’t have as much crime’

12:15 PM CT, October 5

When Cheryl Colbert showed up to the Whitehaven Community Center, 4318 Graceland Drive, around 10:30 a.m. Thursday, she cast her ballot for mayoral candidate Willie Herenton.  

Colbert said she always votes, but a few key issues drove her to the polls this election cycle: “Crime, violence, the police chief and this out-of-control city.” 

She’s lived in Memphis for 68 years and recalls the city during Herenton’s previous tenure as mayor — five terms from the early 1990s to 2009 — as a safer place to live.  

“When he was mayor, we didn’t have as much crime. That’s one thing,” Colbert said. “He worked with the people, not against the people.” 


‘Something’s got to change with this city,’ voter says

11:50 AM CT, October 5

At White Station Church of Christ, 1106 Colonial Road, voters in precincts 13-10 and 13-11 report to vote. Only 54 voters are assigned to precinct 13-10 and a poll worker reported that 24 of them either voted early or by absentee. By mid-morning, four voters had come in to vote. The poll worker, Jack Brown, was hoping to see at least one voter per hour.

Leaving precinct 13-11 was Suzanne Adams. “I was born and raised in Memphis but something’s got to change in this city with the mayor. I pray for the city,” said Adams.

Outside, none of the usual campaign workers were to be found as the church has prohibited political signs and campaigning on its property. However, one Van Turner supporter was sitting on a folding chair in the rain on the sidewalk just outside the church’s property line.



Voters cast their ballots at Balmoral Presbyterian Church

10:25 AM CT, October 5

Voters came to Balmoral Presbyterian Church, 6413 Quince Road, a District 2 precinct, on Quince Road to cast their ballots for the mayoral and City Council races on Oct. 5, 2023. 

There was a slow but steady roll-in of voters at the church when the polls opened at 7 a.m. Over the next couple of hours, the pace would stay consistent. 

Beverly Mendius said the turnout was disappointing since voting is important in Memphis, which she believes is people’s duty. 

Mendius didn’t specify who she voted for, but she said that she is a Republican, so she “usually goes straight down the Republican line.”

Read More


Karen Camper visits Solomon Temple MB Church

9:56 AM CT, October 5

When mayoral candidate Karen Camper rolled up to Solomon Temple MB Church, 1460 Winchester Road in Whitehaven, on a rainy election day morning, she didn’t bother with an umbrella as she greeted a slow trickle of voters.  

Her visit to Solomon Temple was a pit stop on her journey across Memphis, which started in Glenview, where she said voters were showing up in ones and twos.

From Whitehaven, Camper planned to work her way out east.

“It’s been a steady flow of people,” she said. “The rain is not stopping people from coming.” 


Voting off to a slow start at Solomon Temple MB Church

9:49 AM CT, October 5

Voting was off to a slow start at Solomon Temple MB Church, 1460 Winchester Road in Whitehaven, with nine voters trickling in during the first hour and a half of voting.

 By 9:30 a.m., the precinct was tallying 34 voters.

“Very slow,” said Renita Randolph, who has spent her election days working at Memphis precincts for more than 20 years.  

She’s watched the precincts change over more than two decades, from voting technology evolving to the number of early voters increasing — more than 500 at Solomon Temple this year.  

Read More


Short lines at Bert Ferguson Community Center

9:34 AM CT, October 5

If you plan to vote at Cordova’s Bert Ferguson Community Center, 8505 Trinity Road, now is the time to go. A voter can get in and out and cast their ballot in fewer than five minutes.

As of 9 a.m., the enthusiastic poll workers far outnumbered the voters. Only two voters were in line to vote.

Fewer than 10 campaign workers greet those who braved the light rain to cast their votes on Election Day 2023.

The poll workers did point out that after work voting usually picks up at this voting center.


Voters cast their ballots at Second Baptist Church

8:47 AM CT, October 5

More than 50 voters stepped into Second Baptist Church, 4680 Walnut Grove Road, around 7:30 a.m. Thursday morning, Oct. 5, to cast their ballots for the mayoral and District Five City Council elections.

Stewart Austin was one of the voters who decided to cast his selection during the early morning voting period. Austin spoke on who he decided to vote for as his mayoral candidate and why. 

“I voted for Paul Young, because I like his experience,” Austin said. “I like the things he’s done with the Downtown (Memphis) Commission, and I think he’s a younger voice that the city needs.” 

Young is a longtime public official and current Downtown Memphis Commission CEO who previously served for five years as the city’s head of Housing and Community Development under current Mayor Jim Strickland. 

Read More


How rain could affect Election Day turnout

8:31 AM CT, October 5

Shelby County elections administrator Linda Phillips says the rain may impact voter turnout or it may be a minor inconvenience.

She spoke at the Election Operations Center in Shelby Farms Park about a half hour before the polls opened.

This is the fourth election, counting the two special primary and general elections for the Tennessee Legislature earlier this year that a new voting system with a paper audit trail has been in place in Shelby County.

That includes new electronic poll books along with other machinery that is what you might call back of the house technology that voters don’t interact with directly.

Read More


Paul Young votes at First Evangelical Church

8:02 AM CT, October 5

Paxton Young helped his father vote. When jokingly asked who he voted for, Paxton said “My dad.”

Paul Young said he voted for himself. “It was a tough decision,” he said with a smile.

He said he would drop Paxton off at school and then head to the nearest polling place because Memphians like to see and feel their candidates.


‘The most important issue facing the city is crime’

7:46 AM CT, October 5

Jody Becker voted at First Evangelical Church, 735 Ridge Lake Blvd in East Memphis, Thursday morning.

She said she voted for Van Turner for mayor because he’s the most liberal and she agrees with most of his viewpoints.

Down ballot, she voted for Jerri Green in the District 2 City Council race.

Much of her choices were focused on who was the most liberal, she said. The most important issue facing the city is crime, Becker said. She said most candidates focused on more police but she didn’t think that would help and the city needed “much stricter gun laws.”


Memphis Election Day coverage begins

7:10 AM CT, October 5

Memphis has 373,091 registered voters, according to a September report by the Shelby County Election Commission.

Nearly 58,000 votes, including absentee ballots, are already in the bank from the 14-day early voting period.

Those absentee ballots will continue to arrive at the election commission via mail delivery prior to the 7 p.m. closing of the polls today.

The Daily Memphian’s live blog coverage of election day in Memphis will take you through the morning and afternoon rushes, the downtime between them, the vote totals to the very end and the thoughts of the winners and losers.

Read More



2023 Memphis elections 2023 Memphis Mayor's race 2023 election day live blog


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