Longtime political rival heads home to stump for Herenton - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Longtime political rival heads home to stump for Herenton

In the final days of the Memphis Mayoral race, candidates are pulling out all the stops in their campaign.

Now, Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton is calling for help from an unlikely source. The news that former Congressman Harold Ford, Senior would endorse his widely publicized rival is a shocker.

Mayor Herenton says this is his last run for mayor.

Mayor Willie Herenton says his longtime political rival will be in town Tuesday to stump with him.

"Harold called me and said, 'Mayor, is there anything I can do to help you?' And I said "Harold, thank you very much.' He said 'I'll be there'," says Herenton.

Ford executed Herenton's victory over Mayor Dick Hackett 16 years ago. But then, their alliance became a public battle in 1999 when Ford ran his brother, Joe, against Herenton.

His opponent, Carol Chumney, says the power brokers are trying to hold on. "Harold Ford, Senior doesn't live in Memphis. He lives in Florida so he doesn't have a vote. But, the citizens of Memphis do," says Chumney.

Challenger, Herman Morris, calls it desperate. "I think that's another reflection of the desperation of that the incumbent mayor has. He knows that he's losing this election," adds Morris.

But Herenton says Ford was there at the start of his career and now, he's asked him to be there at the finish.

Herenton adds, "This is the last go-around for me. You and I need to stand together symbolically, for unification and solidarity to the African American."

Ford has been known to mobilize the black vote. It's a crucial target for all the candidates.

Click here to email Kontji Anthony.

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