MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Republicans did some soul-searching Friday.
"I know a lot of folks left it all on the field, campaigned hard and just the voters made a different decision," Former Shelby County GOP Chairman Chris Tutor said.
For the first time since Shelby County elections became partisan three decades ago, the GOP won't hold any local countywide offices after its remaining officeholder - Amy Weirich - lost the district attorney's race Thursday.
Tutor said unlike past elections - especially for district attorney - there weren't enough crossover voters willing to vote Democrat in some local races and Republican in others. He said the local Democratic sweep Thursday means there's new urgency for more Republican enthusiasm and stronger outreach.
"I think it's going to be difficult but I think it's doable, we just have to make a better pitch to the voters, I thought we had some great candidates, I thought they communicated well, but we are obviously going to have to retool," Tutor added.
Political analyst Susan Adler Thorp said the results are a major role reversal for Shelby County Republicans compared to the start of partisan races in the early 1990s. Now, the tables are turned with Republicans voted out and shut out.
"If the Republicans have any hope of winning a countywide election in the future, they better find some strong leadership that knows how to run a political party and get out the vote because the Republican turnout in yesterday's election was shameful," Adler Thorp said.
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Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Hendrell Remus is hopeful the Democratic Surge in Shelby County could put their party more in contention in November against Republican Governor's Bill Lee re-election bid.
"There's no path to winning statewide without increasing voter turnout in Shelby County, we are going to a whole lot of time and a whole lot of resources in Shelby County, in Knox County and Davidson County but I think last night showed why it's so important for us to really focus on as we move on towards the general election," Remus said.