The Mayoral Field: It's Early, but Here Are Some Prospects 

So what do we know about the field that is shaping for November, in the first truly open mayoral race since the beginning of the next-to-last decade of the last century?

To start with the known: We’ve got former council member Carol Chumney and ex-MLGW head Herman Morris, Willie Herenton’s foremost opponents in the 2007 mayor’s race just concluded (When was it exactly? Yesterday? Seems like it). Both have spoken to the various TV tubes about their eagerness for a re-do – Chumney with a replay of her new-broom rhetoric of last year, Morris more redemptively, as if grateful for a second chance.

And we have this from John Willingham: “I’ve got the itch, and I’ll probably have to scratch it.”

This cautionary note from Willingham: “I’m not sure he’s going to get out anyway, and if he does, I’m not sure the School Board will have him.” The former county commissioner also believes that former councilman Jack Sammons, who thought about running last year, will follow through and actually do it now.

Blogger Thaddeus Matthews tells us that city court clerk Thomas Long will run, and, as I previously reported, Shelby County Commissioner James Harvey is determined to seek the office of mayor.

And, of course, there’s the dapper, persuasive little man who is the undisputed Big Enchilada of the likely field: Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton, who will be the hands-down favorite. (See The Wharton Hypothesis.) The serious likelihood of an A C candidacy has been reinforced by his discreet deflections of media questions aimed at finding out for sure. Right now a bet on Wharton’s running is a better likely yield than almost any stock or 401-K out there.

I’ll make an effort to keep updating this list, which is only preliminary. But, just looking at the known quantities so far, it seems obvious that Chumney believes she’ll have a favorable split. She made it clear, in private conversations after last October’s election that she would have run even if both Wharton and Herenton had. (!!) Most everybody else believes that a lot – maybe most -- of her vote would have drained away to A C in that eventuality, but she didn’t see it that way.

In any case, nothing – not Patton’s tanks nor the Apocalypse nor funding problems nor any number of tomes about Realpolitik – will keep Chumney out of the race.

More to come. Watch this space.

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