Field of mayoral candidates growing ahead of Memphis municipal election this fall

Crowded mayoral field

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - There are only three months until the municipal election in Memphis, and the field of candidates for mayor is crowded as ever, with 15 people vying to be on the ballot in the city’s top race.

There are some campaign signs on Memphis streets, but not as many as you might expect with an election 90 days away.

“Often these mayor’s campaigns, they sort of rock along very quietly though the summer, and then wham,” said Michael Nelson, WMC Action News 5 political analyst. “Right after Labor Day signs, commercials.”

Nelson said during the summer mayoral candidates typically lay low, ginning up their base of support.

Records from the Shelby County Election Commission show 15 people have pulled petitions to get on the ballot in the mayor’s race. The most high profile include incumbent Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer, and Former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton.

Perennial mayoral candidate Robert Hodges, also known as Prince Mongo, has indicated he will run, along with activist Pamela Moses. But a spokesperson for the Shelby County Election Commission said Wednesday, Moses won’t be on the ballot unless they receive a judge’s order by the filing deadline saying her citizenship rights have been restored from a prior conviction.

The progressive Memphis People’s Convention, held in early June, chose Sawyer as their candidate.

But Nelson said the convention lacked the true political power and intrigue of the one in 1991 that propelled former Mayor Willie Herenton, the city’s first elected African American mayor, to victory over incumbent mayor Dick Hackett.

“It really didn’t launch Tami Sawyer the way the 1991 convention did for Mayor Herenton,” said Nelson.

In addition to the mayor’s race, all 13 city council seats are on the ballot.

“We know who’s running for mayor. People in Memphis know who’s running for mayor. City council members really need to get their name out there in a big way so that people will notice them,” said Nelson.

The qualifying deadline is Thursday, July 18 at noon. The withdrawal deadline is one week later. By that point the field of candidates will be set in each race.

Election Day is Thursday, October 3.

You can view the latest petitions pulled from the Shelby County Election Commission here.

Copyright 2019 WMC. All rights reserved.