Former official (and felon) seeks Memphis Council seat

Former Shelby County Commissioner Joe Cooper, previously convicted on money laundering charges, tried to qualify as a candidate for Memphis City Council Thursday, reports the Commercial Appeal. But it probably didn’t work.

Cooper filed his petition less than an hour before the noon qualifying deadline, after appearing before Chancery Court Judge Jim Kyle. Cooper filed a complaint in Kyle’s court against the Shelby County Election Commission for allegedly not allowing him file his petition and asked Kyle to grant a delay of the filing deadline.

But Kyle dismissed the complaint, saying Cooper needed to file his petition first.

Cooper then filed a petition with two signatures — far fewer than the 25 required — because he said he had been advised he could not collect signatures. In a somewhat contentious back-and-forth at the office’s counter, Election Administrator Richard Holden told him that his petition would be subject, as all petitions are, to certification at the Election Commission’s meeting at 4 p.m. next Thursday.

“At some point, you say ‘Hey, maybe it wasn’t to be this time’,” Cooper said before filing.

Cooper, a former County Commissioner and convicted money launderer, has not had his citizenship rights restored — a prerequisite to be certified as a candidate for public office.