On a serious tip, I alluded to this next question in a previous post, but who will be running for Mayor of Memphis next year? That is the $2,000,000.00 question!
I don't recall which blog I read it on, but I recall seeing someone make the point that W.W. might not even run in 2007. If someone can give me the cite, I'll link it here. The blogger further stated that W.W may be delaying an announcement so that he can "annoint" a successor to file in the last days. That would be genius! I had not even considered that possibility, but it would make sense.
I had assumed that W.W. wanted one final political war to cement his legacy forever in the eyes of Memphians. However, if he could put one of his people into the office, the W.W. legacy (good or bad) would be complete without having to battle.
To whomever is considering a mayoral run in 2007, please file ASAP! You should not base your decision on what W.W. does or does not do. If there are no strong candidates in the race, then W.W. will not need to run. However, if there is a strong candidate, then W.W. will likely have to run or risk not having one of his people in the seat. If W.W. waits until the last minute to announce that he IS NOT running, then there will be a race to file down at the Election Commission from scores of candidates. Think of the 2006 9th District Congressional Democratic primary times five!
It will take a lot of effort to defeat W.W., but perhaps the voters do not want to vote him out. W.W. has been in power since 1991, and I do not see him giving it up so easily. I also do not see his base of voters giving it up so easily. In fact a politician like W.W. gets stronger the more odds are stacked against him. 2007 will be a HUGE battle that lesser politicans will not survive.
So who will be the next "King of Memphis?" Here is my analysis of some possible contenders. I don't do odds, because that would be promoting gambling and this site does not promote gambling unless it's a back-alley cards game.
Harold Ford, Jr. -- This is the position that he should be running for, but he has indicated that he is not interested in this battle. While HFJ could beat W.W., W.W. would deliver some serious wounds to young HFJ (even more so than Sen. Corker). I would not completely discount HFJ running despite what he said, because if he truly wants to be the President, he has to realize that you reach that seat through an executive position. If HFJ waits until 2010 to run for Governor, then he's old news and forgotten. There are no other executive positions on the horizon that make sense except for the mayor's seat. Jr's national and international appeal would definitely attract glamour and celebrity to the city. 3/4 term as the Mayor of Memphis (2007-2010), 2 terms as TN governor (2010-2018), and then you're ready for the Presidency in the year 2020. HFJ will not become the President as a CNN sock puppet.
Carol Chumney -- I heard that she will be running against W.W. While stranger things have happened, I do not see Memphis electing a female mayor in 2007. It would probably make the most sense considering the way the office has been run lately, but I do not see it happening. If there are 20+ candidates in the race, then she may be able to pull it off especially if she has an excited base. She will get a lot of the progressive voters -- but will it be enough?
Jerry Lawler -- If you can't get out of a Chris Masters' Master Lock on Monday Night Raw, then how can you be the Mayor?
Rickey Peete -- This is the dark horse in the race. While he has been convicted of crimes, that is not necessarily to his detriment. D.C. voters elected Marion Berry after he got caught with the crack pipes. He has proven that he can raise a lot of money, so he could battle with W.W. However, Peete & W.W. are aligned in the same cliques, so he would not likely go directly against W.W. However, he could be W.W.'s potential "annointee."
Deidre Malone -- I believe it was the LWC who first stated she might be running. Now I hear she is not interested. However, she would be the PERFECT person for W.W. to hand the mayoral seat if he wants to annoint the mayor. I don't hear many negatives about her as a politician, and she is good around people. She has also remained scandal-free as far as I can tell. A W.W. endorsement for the seat could surprisingly put her in power.
Myron Lowery -- No chance in my opinion. He barely beat Sir Isaac for the City Council in 2003. Next.
Ed Stanton III -- He fought hard in the Congressional primary finishing in 5th place, and acquired many supporters. He has the Fed Ex money behind him, so that is always a consideration. As a former Assistant City Attorney, he can point to experience in the municipal government. One of my good friends always says, "only a young person will be beat Willie." I agree. If someone does defeat W.W., he/she will likely be under the age of 40. Is Ed Stanton ready to be the mayor?
Marvell Mitchell/Ron Redwing -- Like Ed Stanton, they competed well in the Congressional primary. Redwing alienated some people with racial comments, but he had thousands of supporters. Mitchell has money which will be a MAJOR factor in this race. However, do enough people know them?
Jerry West -- I am a huge NBA fan, so I would love to see the Logo as Mayor. A longshot, but if West could pull it off, then perhaps the Grizzlies could win their 1st playoff game.
Nikki Tinker -- Great showing in the Congressional race. Unfortunately, there are no bronze and silver medals in politics. I do not see her having much of a chance to win the mayor's race. W.W. would dissect her being from Alabama like the prize-fighter he dreams of becoming. However, if Ms. Tinker could get Oprah to walk the stump with her (or even do a live show somewhere in Memphis with Ms. Tinker), then we may be addressing her in October 2007 as Mayor Tinker.
Joe Ford Sr. -- The current County Commissioner Chairman and 2nd place finisher to W.W. in 1999. Many people want Joe Sr. to run. People LOVE rematches and this would be a biggest political rematch in recent Memphis politics. I agree with them. However with the Jake and HFJ losses last week, many say that the Ford machine is finished. However, Ophelia was the one Ford winner last week -- and she won with over 70% of the votes. She's from the original generation of Fords just like Joe Sr. Jake and HFJ are from the next generation, so they're more like sequels. And except for the movie Aliens, people typically do not like sequels. If Joe Sr. can put together a solid campaign team, he could beat W.W., because Joe Sr. has a lot of cross-over appeal to whites and Republicans. Any candidate will need cross-over appeal to defeat W.W.
(**UPDATE** - Thanks to the Wintermute who informed me that this was originally discussed on 55-40 at WILLIE STAY OR GO.)