MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The first financial disclosure forms for 2019 in the Memphis mayoral race have now been filed. The forms detail campaign activity from January until March of this year.
We are roughly six months away from the municipal election. Incumbent Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland has the largest war chest at this point.
In the first quarter disclosures, Strickland reported $779,916.87 on hand, receiving $68,535 in campaign contributions, including itemized and un-itemized amounts. Strickland said in January he would run for re-election.
Former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton, who is seeking the city’s top job again, has $6,825.12 on hand, with $25,846 in contributions.
Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer has $19,819.10 on hand, with $25,907.84 in contributions. Sawyer made her candidacy official in March.
Memphis small business owner Lemichael Wilson reported $31,441.69 on hand, with $34,808 in contributions.
WMC Action News 5 political analyst Michael Nelson pointed out Friday that candidates do not have to spend as much on advertising as they used to because of the rise of social media. Nelson said Sawyer will aim to tap into a vibrant activist community, which is active on social media.
Nelson said Herenton has extremely high name recognition because of his years in the public eye, while Strickland has the advantage of being an incumbent.
Herenton, the city’s first elected African-American mayor, served for 17 years before resigning in 2009.
The municipal election is October 3.