To say that the mayor's announcement was a surprise is a considerable understatement. There had been rumors, ever since Cohen did not give Herenton an outright endorsement during the mayor's 2007 reelection campaign, that Herenton was displeased with the congressman, whose own race in 2006 he had supported enthusiastically.
After instructing Turner to pass out copies of the statement, Herenton walked away with aides and did not take further questions.
This is the text of the statement handed out to the media Tuesday afternoon by Herenton:
“The transition from public service to the private sector has been contemplated by me for a considerable time after retirement from my current office.
“However, after receiving considerable encouragement from citizens to become a candidate in 2010 for the U.s. House of Representatives Ninth Congressional District, I am seriously evaluating the opportunity to represent the Memphis community at the federal level. My thirty years of public service has uniquely prepared me to represent Memphis at the federal level as our national leadership faces some very difficult challenges.
“I am forming an exploratory committee and anticipate making a decision in the near future.”
See Jackson Baker's Political Beat for more as this story develops.