Monday, August 24, 2009

Herenton Says He Won't Run for Mayor

Posted By on Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 5:15 PM

Former mayor Willie Herenton
  • Former mayor Willie Herenton
Speaking on the radio show of blogger Thaddeus Matthews Monday afternoon, former mayor Willie Herenton announced that, despite the fact that he had drawn a petition to run for his old job, he would not become a candidate for mayor in the October 15th special election.

Nor, said Herenton, would be support his onetime campaign chairman, Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton, with whose policies the former city mayor said he disagreed. One case in point was the particular strategy Wharton is pursuing to achieve consolidation — one that excludes the two separate school systems, city and county.

Wharton will be the next mayor, however -- with as much as 65 percent of the vote, Herenton would add. "The only person" who could prevent that, the ex-mayor said, was "Willie Herenton," and he himself would be bending his energies to achieving victory in the 9th District congressional race against incumbent Steve Cohen.

"He [Wharton] ought to thank me [for not running]," Herenton said. He added later that, if he had run against Wharton in the special election, "I'd have had to beat up on him real bad."

The former mayor said also that he did not intend to endorse any of the other candidates in the large field that has now declared for city mayor. He devoted considerable time in the broadcast to pejorative statements about mayor pro tem Myron Lowery, who would not win and did not deserve to win, he said.

Herenton insisted that his declared race for the congressional seat now held by Cohen, whom he had endorsed in 2006, was a reality and that he would begin his campaign for the office in earnest in January.

Asked by Matthews whether he stood by his characterization in the Flyer's July 2 issue of Cohen as an "asshole," Herenton affirmed that he could think of "no better term" to describe the congressman, whom he also termed a "hypocrite."

Herenton said he had been told by several former Jewish supporters that they could not support him in his race against Cohen. "I respect that," said the former mayor, who went on to say that blacks were unique as an ethnic bloc in that they allowed themselves to be divided.

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