MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Robert "Prince Mongo" Hodges has proven to be a controversial figure in 2009 in yet another Memphis mayor's race. With one debate down, some are speculating there could soon be another sighting of the man who claims he's an alien from Zambodia.
Displaying reflective goggles, a wig, bare feet, painted legs and with a signature rubber chicken hanging from his lapel, Hodges recently appeared in the Action News 5 Mayoral Debate.
"We need to issue all the citizens a uzi, machine guns, whatever they need to be safe," Hodges said during the debate.
But that appearance was not without controversy.
Before Action News 5 included Hodges to the first mayoral debate for the October 15th special election, his viability as a candidate came under scrutiny. In fact, candidate A.C. Wharton threatened to pull out of the event, sending a letter to Channel 5 saying he would only "debate with serious candidates." Wharton never actually named Hodges in the letter.
When Action News 5 questioned if Hodges had actively campaigned according to debate rules, he hired Attorney Leslie Ballin. Ultimately, rather than inconvenience all nine candidates, the show went on.
"I think that what will happen in the future for debates is that maybe the advertisement for the debate is that we will have the candidates on the debate that we want to, as opposed to saying if you meet A, B and C then you're invited," Ballin said.
The National Association of Women Business Owners has the next scheduled mayoral panel. Association President Nita Black says she's reached out to all the candidates.
"I can't think of anything we're worried about right now," she said. "We want this to be a positive event for Memphis."
Black said the candidates at the debate will be responsible for their own behavior, and that Hodges is welcome to attend. Neither Wharton nor Mongo are scheduled to appear on the panel next Thursday.
Wharton says he is considering one or two future debates.
Meanwhile, Ballin said he'd certainly represent the Prince of Zambodia if any group in the future turned him away.
The National Association of Women Business Owners is holding it's panel next Thursday at Napa Café in East Memphis. Seats are limited.