The Ford machine has won a lot of races in Shelby County. A lot of races. Including one on Thursday for state Senate District 29, won by incumbent Ophelia Ford.

But yesterday Joe Ford was handily defeated for County Mayor by Sheriff Mark Luttrell by a whopping 16-point margin:

The result denies Memphis’ Ford family of something oft-imagined but never achieved — an elected Mayor Ford.

Luttrell, the Republican nominee, got 58 percent of the vote in a county where 57 percent voted in Democratic primaries during the 16-day early-voting period. That it was the closest county mayor race since the first contest, in 1975, was no consolation to Ford (42 percent), who also lost a 1999 bid for Memphis mayor.

In other news, incumbent US Rep. Steve Cohen fought off a challenge for the 9th Congressional District’s Democrat primary by five-time Memphis Mayor and self-proclaimed deity, Willie Herenton. This margin was even larger: 79 to 21.

Both Ford and Herenton are members of political machines with vast reach and influence. But both lost on Thursday.

But the real winners are the citizens of Shelby County. Finally.

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