A field of 28 candidates had filed petitions with enough valid signatures to run in the Oct. 15 special election for Memphis mayor by today’s noon deadline.
Shelby County Election Commission administrator Richard Holden told The Daily News several contenders had their petitions rejected once election commission staff checked the signatures.
Each person signing must be a registered voter in the city of Memphis and list the address that is on their voter registration record.
A total of 33 petitions were filed by the noon deadline. But several candidates were disqualified for not having enough signatures. And then three were returned to the list of candidates after a second check of their petitions. Those who returned to candidate status included Memphis school board member Sharon Webb.
Those who made today's cut have until noon Sept. 10 to withdraw from the race. The field will then become final.
The candidates include:
- Leo Awghowhat
- Kenneth Baroff
- Joe Brown, Memphis City Council member
- Randy L. Cagle
- Charles Carpenter, attorney
- Carol Chumney, former City Council member
- Dewey Clark, former aide to and witness against jailed Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell
- James M. Clingan
- Menelik Fombi, a candidate for Memphis City Schools Board in past elections
- Wanda Halbert, chairwoman, City Council budget committee
- Johnny Hatcher
- Robert “Prince Mongo” Hodges
- Constance Houston
- Dewayne Jones
- E.C. Jones, former City Council member
- Jerry Lawler, entertainer and former professional wrestler
- Myron Lowery, Memphis mayor pro tem
- Ernie Lunati
- Harrel C. Moore
- Mary T. Shelby-Wright, perennial candidate for numerous offices
- Detric W. Stigall
- Silky Sullivan, restaurant owner and entrepreneur
- David Vinciarelli
- Vuong Vaughn Vo
- Sharon Webb, Memphis school board member
- Kenneth T. Whalum Jr., pastor of New Olivet Baptist Church and Memphis school board member
- A C Wharton Jr., Shelby County mayor
- John Willingham, former Shelby County commissioner
Sullivan showed up at the Election Commission in a white Rolls Royce wearing a white suit.
“When you see this white suit, you know I’m coming at you,” he told reporters as he outlined a plan to turn The Pyramid over to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital instead of the proposed lease to Bass Pro Shops.
“It’s going to be a dogfight,” Sullivan said of the mayor’s race.
When someone asked if he would still be in the race after next week’s withdrawal deadline, Sullivan said he was in “to the violent end.”
“You know you can’t win,” political blogger and radio talk show host Thaddeus Matthews said to Sullivan.
“Why not?” Sullivan replied.
Anthony Willoughby, the last candidate to file before noon, told reporters he was a Realtor-broker who played a role in the development of Banneker Estates in southwest Memphis, the subdivision developed by former Mayor Willie Herenton.
“I’m not a politician,” Willoughby said. “I’m going to run on that statement.”
Willoughby didn't have enough qualified signatures, though. So he won't be running.
Daniko Flowers, a construction worker still wearing his safety vest, showed up at five minutes before noon and checked out a petition. He returned at three minutes past noon and was not allowed to file. Flowers only had 18 signatures on the petition anyway....