VOL. 131 | NO. 39 | Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Luttrell Weighing Congressional Bid
By Bill Dries
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell is considering a run for Congress and he expects to make his decision in the next week.
Luttrell confirmed Tuesday, Feb. 23, that he is weighing a run in the August Republican primary for the 8th Congressional District seat.
That’s the seat Republican incumbent Stephen Fincher announced this month he would not seek re-election to.
“I am very, very seriously considering it,” Luttrell told The Daily News Tuesday as he was traveling in Washington, D.C. “I have to give a lot of consideration to my personal situation. I will make a decision in the next week.”
The Republican primary already includes five declared contenders from Shelby County: attorney David Kustoff; Shelby County Commissioner Steve Basar; former Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn; Shelby County Register Tom Leatherwood; and State Sen. Brian Kelsey.
Former Madison County Commissioner Mark Johnstone and Ron Kirkland, also of Jackson, are also weighing entries into the Republican primary.
On the Democratic side, assistant District Attorney Michael McCusker of Memphis is running for the seat.
Luttrell is serving the second of two terms as Shelby County mayor. His term runs through August of 2018.
But just his possible entry in the race is certain to raise the profile of those already considering the race to succeed him as county mayor. That includes Shelby County Trustee David Lenoir and County Commission chairman Terry Roland.
Luttrell doesn’t risk his current office with a run but would-be contenders for county mayor in 2018 would begin considering accelerating their campaign. Should he win the congressional seat with a little less than two years left on his term of office as mayor, the Shelby County Commission chairman would serve as interim mayor.
It’s a scenario with a recent precedent when A C Wharton resigned as Shelby County mayor in 2009 following his election as Memphis mayor that year. Commission chairwoman Joyce Avery served as interim mayor for 45 days under terms of the county charter. She was followed by county commissioner Joe Ford who was appointed interim mayor by the commission for the rest of Wharton's term of office.
The filing deadline for the August congressional primaries is April 7.