MEMPHIS , Tenn. (AP) - Fifteen candidates are signed up to challenge Mayor Willie Herenton's re-election in October, with at least two expected to launch serious campaigns.
Herenton, 67, the city's first elected black mayor, is seeking a fifth consecutive four-year term.
Herenton's strongest challenges are expected to come from City Council member Carol Chumney and Herman Morris, former president of Memphis Light, Gas & Water, the city's publicly owned utility company.
Qualifying for the election ended Thursday afternoon, with no major, surprise candidates getting in the race. Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton rejected a call by a citizens' group, led by two well-known pastors, to become a candidate.
Herenton took over City Hall in 1991 by beating a popular incumbent by 142 votes in the closest mayor's race in Memphis history.
Since then he has easily won re-election. Herenton set off a citywide stir last month in announcing his belief that a group of rich, white businessmen had tried to set him up for a sex scandal.
He refused to name his alleged enemies but said he was told by a former nightclub waitress that she was paid $150,000 to seduce him and videotape their sexual encounter.
The woman's claims are under investigation by Memphis police and the state prosecutor's office.