With possibly the first serious challenge to his seat in many years, Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton has been attending many public events lately.
One event he does not plan to attend is a televised mayoral debate.
"I don't need to debate," Herenton said Wednesday. According to Hereonton,he doesn't need to debate, rather, he should be judged on his actions.
"These candidates are unknown," he said. "They need to debate. Let's see what they've got."
Memphis City Council member Carol Chumney, one of Herenton's opponents, disputed the assertion that she is unknown. "I've been in public life for 17 years and I've been very vocal on the issues," she said.
Thursday, Chumney sent Herenton a personal challenge to a debate. She said she did not want to speak for the mayor, but wondered if he's afraid of having to answer tough questions.
"It doesn't matter if you've been the mayor or not been the mayor, they need to hear what ideas are on how to reduce crime, how to get control of the spending and how to deal with public education," Chumney said.
Fellow candidate Herman Morris agreed.
"I think if we're going to submit ourselves to lead, to be candidates for public office and elections, I think we owe it to the voters to take part in the process and have the discussion and the debate and let them hear responses, and let them gage what vision is for the community that each candidate has," Morris said.
With or without Herenton, a debate is scheduled to take place in September.
Election Day is October 4th.