So What Is County Mayor Wharton Raising Money For? 

On Wednesday of this week, pol-watchers in these parts will be up against it trying to keep up with big-time local events. First, there is the long-planned fundraiser at U of M basketball coach John Calipari’s manse for city council candidate Jim Strickland. Almost simultaneously, there is mayoral candidate Herman Morris’ headquarters opening at 1835 Union Avenue.

And finally there is a $500-a-head fundraiser for Shelby County mayor A C Wharton at the Racquet Club. Then there’s…

Wait a minute! It’s understandable why candidate Strickland, who has at least one opponent and may get more before next month’s filing deadline, needs a fundraiser. And any self-respecting candidate for mayor has to have a headquarters (though Morris, whose HQ has been broken into and robbed already, even before its formal opening, may have second thoughts about that.

But why does Mayor Wharton, who possesses no known campaign debt from his prior two election efforts and who is enjoined by law from running for a third term, need a big-ticket fundraiser? Granted, political eminences (and A C is certainly that) are called upon from time to time to keep up appearances by staging events or sending flowers and even to lend a hand to up-and-coming hopefuls, but is there an ulterior purpose to this putting the arm on big donors?

Given the events of the last week in the, 2007 Political Conspiracy, er, season, and the persistent rumors that Wharton is still meditating on a possible city mayor’s race, is there an even more practical and immediate reason for the county mayor’s fundraiser? Hmmmm.

--J.B.

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