chumney_weirich_250Main Street Journal
February 21, 2012
Online exclusive

Perennial candidate Carol Chumney is allegedly running for District Attorney General this year, but most Shelby County voters would be hard-pressed to identify her reasons for running, much less conjure an argument explaining why she’s up to the job.

This election cycle, voters have heard little if anything from Chumney, a former state representative and city council member with a string of failed campaigns for mayor (of Shelby County in 2002, and of Memphis in 2007 and 2009).

As Jackson Baker reported in the Memphis Flyer, “one of the first opportunities for voters to see candidates for these offices en masse occurred last week in a ‘Meet the Candidates’ forum at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library. Incumbent district attorney Amy Weirich, a Republican, was on hand, but her Democratic opponent, Carol Chumney, was absent.”

Leaving a comment on the Commercial Appeal‘s report (“Candidates tout qualifications and integrity at forum,” Feb. 7, 2012), event host Dr. Yvonne Nelson wrote, “I think several additional candidates could have shown up, but they didn’t and to me, that in itself says something about what they feel about the public they say they want to serve.”

It seems Chumney also won’t appear at a candidate forum that was scheduled by the League of Women Voters but has now been removed from their website. A spokesman for the Weirich campaign said they were told the event had been canceled because Chumney wouldn’t be available.

Unfortunately, voters won’t be able to fill in the blanks with a quick web search, either. Beyond a few media hits she earned by filing her papers in December, Chumney’s online presence consists mainly of abandoned social media accounts for previous campaigns and a few glowing reviews by her blogger friend, LeftWingCracker.

There is a “Carol Chumney for Shelby County District Attorney” page on Facebook, which has to date offered exactly one link and attracted exactly one “like.”

Even the Commercial Appeal has had difficulty obtaining information from the Chumney campaign. In a profile on the race, reporter Michael Lollar wrote that “Chumney did not return telephone calls to her and to the Shelby County Democratic Party.” Chumney was unavailable for a telephone interview and did not complete a bio request, but the paper was able to quote from a prepared statement sent via e-mail.

Chumney’s most recent campaign financial disclosure statement provides additional warning signs. A statement filed January 16 with the Election Commission shows Chumney still owes $85,947 for a loan she made to herself in her 2002 race for Shelby County Mayor. She reported no donations for last year.

Weirich, on the other hand, has been making presentations and connections throughout Shelby County since assuming office in January 2011, when she was sworn in by Governor Haslam.

The Weirich campaign’s website lists about a half dozen appearances this month alone. Her effort has resulted in hundreds of followers on Facebook, a list of endorsements several pages long, and a sizeable campaign warchest.

The contrast looks even worse for Chumney when you factor in Weirich’s year of experience in the office, nearly two decades of distinguished service as a deputy attorney general, division leader and prosecutor, and the universal recognition she has earned as an accomplished public servant.

The full story behind Chumney’s absence remains to be heard, but in the meantime voters will be asking why they should even consider supporting a challenge from a no-show candidate.