Mayoral candidates square off amid protests - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mayoral candidates square off amid protests

By Lori Brown - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

Memphis, TN (WMC-TV) - The top four finishers in a WREG-TV and Commercial Appeal poll squared off inside the news station's studio Saturday night.

While most of the candidates remained calm and predictable, things did become slightly heated at times.

During the final portion of the debate, candidates took the opportunity to attack Shelby County Mayor A.C. Wharton.

"What have you done in the past seven years to facilitate one Shelby?" said candidate Charles Carpenter.

Memphis Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery raised his voice at one point when asking Charles Carpenter if Reginald French worked for him. Carpenter said he had consulted with French earlier.

Outside the debate, Kenneth Whalum, the fifth finisher in the poll, led a protest for being shut out of the debate. He was joined by about 30 supporters.

"Every candidate in that studio, none of them have gotten as many votes as I have city wide," Whalum said.

Back inside, there was one question that three out of the four candidates didn't want to answer: Who would they endorse in the 9th District race between Congressman Steve Cohen and former Mayor Willie Herenton?

Carpenter, Wharton and Carol Chumney all said they had not made any endorsements.

"The public should know my three opponents did not have the courage to make an answer - got to have courage to lead," Lowery said. He then went on to endorse Cohen.

Later in the debate, Chumney did say she would endorse Congressman Cohen if he asked her to do so.

Wrestling icon Jerry Lawler, who received two percent in the poll and was also shut out of the debate, tried to file a complaint with the FCC. But the FCC said they couldn't hear the case until next week, which is obviously too late, since early voting is already underway.

A broadcast attorney told Action News 5 that stations have the right to set their own rules for televised debates.


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