Pro-wrestler Jerry Lawler won't challenge latest poll

Memphis mayoral candidate and pro-wrestler Jerry Lawler threatened legal action when he was excluded from a mayoral debate sponsored by this newspaper and a local TV station a few weeks ago.

He's been left out of another debate on the eve of Election Day, but Lawler said he won't put up a fight this time.

Inclusion in both debates was based on the results of WREG TV Channel 3 polls.

Only the top-four finishers were asked to participate, meaning candidates facing off tomorrow at 4 p.m. on Channel 3 include Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton (who won support from 53 percent of those surveyed), Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery (16 percent), former City Councilwoman Carol Chumney (9 percent) and Memphis City School board member Kenneth Whalum Jr. (5 percent).

"I'm not going to try and challenge this latest poll because obviously it was designed to make Wharton look good," Lawler said. "Polls are just numbers that can be manipulated... I'm just trying to tell voters don't let a poll decide who you vote for."

In other news, Whalum replaces attorney Charles Carpenter in the upcoming debate. While Carpenter finished fourth in the first poll with 5 percent, he slipped to sixth with three percent this time around, behind Lawler with 4 percent.

Whalum told CA reporter Zack McMillin in an e-mail that he's pleased to be in a debate tomorrow but "I still want to know who was polled, whether the sample is exactly reflective of the gender/economic/age/racial demographic of Memphis, and I still think it's grossly unfair to the other candidates not to include them somehow."

He said the debate "could" have an impact and "will allow viewers to hear without the filter of media editorializing."

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