Wharton co-chairs include Jim Strickland, Tomeka Hart

Some significant names were added to the A C Wharton campaign at a rally Saturday at its Eastgate headquarters. City Councilman Jim Strickland and Memphis City Schools board member Tomeka Hart were among six people announced as chairpersons in the county mayor's bid to win the City of Memphis's special mayoral election.

Strickland, a lawyer, had made serious noise about possibly making his own bid, and the first-term Councilman attracted more than 1,000 followers on a Facebook page dedicated to drafting him to run for mayor. Strickland would have emphasized public safety and budgetary issues as a candidate, but a poll commissioned by his exploratory committee indicated Wharton's electoral support would be too much to overcome.

Strickland's addition adds more fundraising firepower to an already formidable organization that has seen Wharton raise exponentially more money than other declared candidates. About a dozen people have said they are committed to running in the Oct. 15 special election, although nearly three dozen people have pulled petitions from the Shelby County Election Commission to become candidates.

Hart, the 2008 schools board president, serves as president and chief executive officer of the Memphis Urban League.

Four others were also announced: Darrell Cobbins, owner of Universal Commercial Real Estate; Ray Peterson Sr., Wharton's pastor at South Parkway Church of Christ; Lois Stockton, owner of Nail Station and a community activist; and, Jose Velazquez, former executive director of Latino Memphis and now the deputy director of the National Council of La Raza's affiliate services.

The campaign's press release emphasized the "diverse group" of "faith, business, volunteer communities" represented in the announcement.

"They represent a wonderfully diverse cross-section of our community and they share my view for Memphis' future: making sure that all of our citizens have good jobs, safe neighborhoods,
and an effective, efficient City Hall to serve them," Wharton said in a statement.


Mayor Wharton is light years ahead of all the other candidites in the breath, depth and scope of his campaign. He is intelligent, accessible, christian family man that actually lives in Memphis and that has been committed to public service for over twenty years. I challenge all Memphians to compare and contrast with the other candidates. You will clearly realize that Wharton is the best choice for Mayor of Memphis!

He also was willie's lawyer that swept his sexual assault charges under the rug by settling it with a payment from the taxpayers but we don't know the amount since he also had it sealed.

He was also willie's campaign manager at one time and instrumental in getting him elected mayor of Memphis.

He also increased the county debt to almost $2 Billion while county mayor. What is there to show for it?

Wharton is more of the same old same old for this area. He is out for the power of the office. I doubt things will improve much if he is elected.

It was also rumored that AC Wharton went to other candidates and bribed them with jobs in his admin if they got out of the race and publicly supported him. Is this why strickland really got out?

Dave, you have brought up several talking points and even untrue rumors but have yet to adhere to my challenge of comparing Wharton's record to your candidate. Who of course, mysteriously remains unnamed.

I agree Dave, Wharton should NOT be the mayor of Memphis. He is doing the SAME thing everyone claims Herenton is doing and if he were to win it would cost the county more money to hold that special election than it would for the city's. He has not done anything as county mayor, now he wants to be in charge of the city. He is too old, we need someone who is still in touch with the world to lead Memphis out of the hole its in. He will not bring about any progress, you can ensure more of the same under his 'lack of' leadership. Memphis will not grow, but unfortunately majority of the voters wont realize that because they are willing to vote for him because they think he is "cute" or "nice". Yeah those traits definitely equate good leadership. Wake up Memphis and listen to the issues!!! This city would have to give up its charter if consolidated, thats why Wharton really wants to be the mayor. He is in someone's pocket.

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