Wharton readies 2011 run for Memphis Mayor

Shelby County Mayor AC Wharton
Shelby County Mayor AC Wharton

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Shelby County Mayor AC Wharton is preparing to launch a campaign to run for the office of Memphis Mayor in the 2011 election.

An invitation that went out a few days ago invites recipients to a $500 a plate fundraiser for Wharton's run.

The Reverent Bill Adkins, one of several people who tried to convince Wharton to run against incumbent Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton, said he received an invitation.

"When I looked at it, I thought it was a mistake when it said 'city mayor,' but now we know that was exactly the intent," Adkins said. "He has made the decision to run for Mayor of Memphis."

Though Adkins and others tried to convince Wharton to run against Herenton, Wharton decided against it, because he didn't want to cause a rift between himself and Herenton.

In March, Herenton said he wanted to resign to become superintendent of MEmphis City Schools.  Wharton's name came up again, but he wouldn't comment.

"I'm not going to talk about it," Wharton said in March.  "This just occurred.  I haven't discussed my political future with my family."

Now, he apparently has.  Wharton's wife Ruby is named as treasurer on the invitation.

Businessman and Wharton supporter Karl Schledwitz is on the finance committee.  Monday, he said there are advantages and disadvantages to announcing three years before an election.

"Certainly doing it three years out is a long time in politics." he said. "But there's always an advantage to those who can raise the most money early on, can get the most support committed, and in a lot times, it's easier to do that when there is nobody else running."

But, Schledwitz added, a lot can happen with such a long campaign.

Wharton would not do an interview about his plans to run for city mayor Monday.  Mayor Herenton was not available for comment.

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