Strickland not ready to commit to facing Herenton in 2019 election

Former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland spoke publicly for the first time since former Mayor Willie Herenton announced Thursday that he'd be running for mayor in 2019.

"I respect Mayor Herenton," Strickland said.

Though all indications point to Strickland running for re-election in 2019, he said Friday that he still hasn't decided.

Strickland didn't have much to say about Herenton on Friday--nearly 24 hours after he revealed through a speech at Lemoyne-Owen College and a media blitz that he wants voters in 2019 to send him back to city hall where he served for 17 years.

"I'm offering my services to the citizens of Memphis, and they have the opportunity to vote for whomever they want to vote for in 2019," Herenton said.
For his part, Strickland didn't officially acknowledge whether he'd face Herenton in 2019 when asked Friday.
"For me, it's too early to do that. The election is a year and a half off. I'm focused on making Memphis a better place every day," he said.
But an internal campaign document provided to WMC Action News 5 from a Strickland for Mayor source suggests he will run in 2019. 

It also states in the 2015 election, Strickland maintained a roughly 60 percent favorable rating across multiple groups, including whites and African Americans.

"I just look forward to more years of trying to make this a better Memphis," Strickland said.
The Shelby County Election commission said the first day petitions for Memphis Mayor can be pulled is April 2019. The election is Oct. 2, 2019.

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