It's official: Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton kicks off re-election campaign

It's been in the works for months but Saturday Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton officially kicked off his re-election campaign.

Loud music and hundreds of people greeted Mayor Herenton as he announced his plans to run for city mayor--again.

Two of the other big names in the race still making their own pitches as all three now fight for office.

"We have an outstanding record and that's all we're going to talk about in this campaign," said Herenton.

Herenton's hanging his red and white campaign hat on economic progress, downtown revitalization, and public housing.

He's promising more enthusiasm and more passion and said that he's only worried about one person, "I know Willie Herenton. I don't know any other opponents. There's only one person in this race and that's Willie Herenton."

City Councilwoman Carol Chumney threw her name in the hat long ago.

"I'm running to bring safe streets, safe schools, safe neighborhoods back to this city. Clean it up," said Chumney. "I am the candidate that should lead this community forward," she added.

Former MLGW head Herman Morris says the focus of his campaign is moving forward and says that requires moving past the racial divide.

"All we have to do is pull our community together with leadership that's interested in pulling our community together," said Morris.

Both Morris and Chumney want to debate and that's something Herenton refuses to do.

Herenton said he has a good reason for not wanting to debate, "the people of Memphis know me. They know my abilities. They know my experience. And all those who have never had the ability to lead, they need to debate. All I need to do is talk about what we've done in the past and what we're going to do in the future and I don't need to do that in a debate."

Chumney said that the mayor's response is puzzling, "I don't understand quite frankly someone who is willing to get in the ring with Joe Frazier but won't get in the ring with Carol Chumney."

Morris added, "we've got something to say. If you don't have anything to say, then perhaps you shouldn't participate in the debate."

Action News 5 is planning a live televised debate. It's scheduled for September.

Election day is Thursday October, 4th.

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