After weeks of intense speculation, its about to become official. Shelby County Pubic Defender A C Wharton
will formally announce his candidacy for county mayor at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning at The Peabody.
News of Whartons taking the plunge comes only days after he gave serious second thoughts to holding back from running, according to sources connected with at least the periphery of the campaign.
Further into the hard core of Whartons support, however, were the likes of Bobby Lanier
, the longtime administrative aide to both former county mayor Bill Morris
and incumbent mayor Jim Rout
and an early enthusiast for a Wharton candidacy after Rout declared some weeks back he would vacate the seat.
Lanier served ultimately as a decisive source of support and encouragement for the well-liked and highly regarded (but traditionally cautious) man known almost universally in political, legal, and governmental circles as A C. Whartons entry would seem to virtually complete a Democratic field that already includes Bartlett banker Harold Byrd
, State Senator Jim Kyle
, and State Representative Carol Chumney
. None of these have so far given any indication that theyre thinking of withdrawing.
The main remaining mystery is the identity of the mainstream Republican contender. At least two public figures are still strongly considering making the race-- District Attorney General Bill Gibbons
and lawyer and former Memphis city councilman John Bobango