Sunday, May 18


Memphis voters will be able to decide if there should be instant-runoff voting in municipal elections. Memphis Charter Commission members -- who also decided on the number of city court judges and discussed mayoral succession -- chose to include instant-runoff voting on an ever-increasing list of ballot measures voters will consider that would govern how city government operates for decades to come. With instant-runoff balloting, voters rank their candidates in order of preference. If one candidate gets a majority of first-place votes, that candidate wins outright. If not, the candidate with the fewest first-place votes is eliminated and his or her ballots get redistributed among the remaining contenders based on the second-place votes. The process continues until a candidate gets a majority and is declared the winner. The current runoff system in some City Council districts results in low turnout and high costs, according to proponents of instant-runoff voting. -Memphis Commercial Appeal

Former Gov. Jesse Ventura said he "may" file the necessary papers to run for the U.S. Senate in the November election. If he doesn't, his former campaign manager will. Both are hinting at a run against Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and likely Democratic candidate Al Franken this fall. The only question seems to be: Will it be Ventura, or the man who helped him become governor? Ventura's former campaign manager, Dean Barkley, now works as a bus driver and gardens as a hobby. "Ear to the dirt, listening to the pulse of the people," he joked Thursday. But Barkley, who was appointed to the Senate for 62 days after Paul Wellstone died in 2002, said he is serious about going to Washington again. . . As for Ventura, he refused to answer questions Thursday from reporters who showed up for his public book signing at Mall of America. "Are you running for Senate?" a reporter asked. "You're the media," Ventura mouthed before taking a question from someone else. He eventually talked about his plans anyway. "Now you're asking me to stop my latest quest, which is surfing," he said when asked about running for office again. Ventura told the crowd that "none of the above" would be a better choice than Norm Coleman or Al Franken. "I may go down and file," he added. "I will be 'none of the above,' and if I win, I'll go to Washington." The Humphrey Institute's Larry Jacobs said the timing just might be right ... again. "If it's Ventura, all bets are off," he said. "Voters are angry. And they're not very happy with the parties and the candidates in front of them."

During a speech before the National Rifle Association convention in Louisville, Kentucky, former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee - who has endorsed presumptive GOP nominee John McCain - joked that an unexpected offstage noise was Democrat Barack Obama looking to avoid a gunman. "That was Barack Obama, he just tripped off a chair, he's getting ready to speak," said the former Arkansas governor, to audience laughter. "Somebody aimed a gun at him and he dove for the floor." CNN