Mayor Wharton shaking things up in election poll

The future of Memphis politics hinges on the upcoming mayoral election.

One-pollster says it could be cinched up if County Mayor A C Wharton enters the race.

A group of local businessmen came together to see how the Memphis mayor's race was fairing. But this time, they added Shelby County Mayor AC Wharton's name to the equation.

And they came up with some interesting calculations.

It's the most extreme Memphis Mayor's race we've seen in years. And the speculation Shelby County Mayor AC Wharton may consider throwing his hat in the ring is shaking things up in the polls.

"He was the 800 pound gorilla. He was by far the most popular public official," said Schledwitz.

Schledwitz is part of a group of local businessmen who commissioned a Memphis Mayor's race poll.

"It was a study to try to figure out what the mood of Memphians was," added Schledwitz.

He says the poll found Wharton's name would send the mercury rising, "in fact, our pollster who's been polling 25 years said he had never seen any politician with as high a favorable rating as AC Wharton," he added.

Without Wharton, Carol Chumney, Willie Herenton and Herman Morris topped the poll in that order.

Herenton was not available for an interview, but Chumney and Morris say they won't let speculation distract them.

"We're in the lead, we're going to win this election no matter who gets in this race," said Chumney.

Morris added, "I think it's just rank speculation and it's a distraction from what the real issues are in this election."

Still, Schledwitz says campaigns change.

"The poll shows Carol Chumney ahead, but you can't count Mayor Herenton out once the campaign starts, and Herman Morris has potential," said Schledwitz.

Even if Wharton doesn't add more heat to the city mayor's race, politicos anticipate a hot summer.

It's important to note former FedEx Executive Jim Perkins was not included in the poll. He just got in the race this week.


to email Kontji Anthony.