Can an American Idol wannabe swing a local election? 

Ask Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton, who last weekend invited a flood of local dignitaries into his newly opened Whitehaven campaign headquarters (one of two HQs for Wharton – the other being located way off in East Memphis). But the true guest of honor, the piece de resistance at the mayor’s opening, was clearly Gedeon McKinney, the young Memphian who made the finals in this year’s American Idol competition --though crusty Brit judge Simon Cowell confessed to being made uneasy by McKinney’s preternaturally toothy smile. McKinney sang a couple of supportive numbers in his patented gospel-style manner, and who cares what Simon Cowell thinks about it all? He’s got no vote in Shelby County.

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