Mayor Herenton announces candidacy for Congress - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mayor Herenton announces candidacy for Congress

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Memphis mayor Willie Herenton says he's running for Congress.

Herenton's office confirmed Thursday that he has filed notice with the Federal Election Commission that he will be a candidate next year for the 9th District House seat from Memphis.

Herenton, 69, is in his fifth term in office and is the longest serving mayor in Memphis history.

He said in April that he was considering challenging incumbent Rep. Steve Cohen in the Democratic primary.

The Federal Election Commission requires candidates to register once they have raised or spent more than $5,000 on a congressional campaign.

Herenton, a former superintendent of schools, is the city's first elected black mayor. He defeated a popular white incumbent in the closest mayor's race in Memphis history in 1991 and since then, has had little serious trouble winning re-election.

Memphis is majority black and Cohen is the city's first white member of Congress in more than three decades.

Former Rep. Harold Ford Sr. represented the 9th District for 22 years and was followed by Harold Ford Jr., who held the seat for 10 years before resigning to run for the U.S. Senate in 2006. He was not successful.

Harold Ford Sr., who has often been at political odds with Herenton, is scheduled to hold two fundraisers for Cohen this month.

The Washington bureau of The Commercial Appeal newspaper reported Wednesday that Ford is organizing a June 24 fundraiser in Washington and a June 30 event in Memphis.

Rhodes College political science professor Marcus Pohlmann said the fundraisers show a long-running political rivalry between Ford and Herenton is continuing.

For much of the past year, a federal grand jury reportedly has been asking questions about Herenton's involvement in a downtown real estate project and an annual Christmas party organized under his name.

Grand jury witnesses have included a top Herenton aide and the mayor's son. Herenton says he has done nothing illegal.            


(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)      

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