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Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland will run for third term if referendum passes

The referendum, which would allow mayor and city council members to serve a third consecutive 4-year term, is on the August ballot.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — New details were released Thursday after Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said Wednesday he would run for a third term if Memphis voters extend term limits for the mayor and city council.

Strickland told ABC24 political analyst Otis Sanford and the mayor's staff confirmed to ABC24 that if the referendum on term limits - which is on the Aug. 4 ballot - passes, he will seek reelection in 2023.

In 2019, Mayor Strickland told the public his second mayoral campaign would be his final campaign.

Mayor Strickland was unexpectedly available Thursday afternoon follow up questions but said in a said in a statement "there's more to be done and more to fight to achieve" in a potential third term.

Still, Sanford isn't so sure this announcement from Mayor Strickland will dramatically impact how voters will respond in the referendum.

"Mayor Strickland won in a landslide the last time in 2019 against a pretty popular former mayor in Willie Herenton but the voters have spoken on this before and I just don't think that even Jim Strickland saying he would run again I don't think it changes the needle all that much, it makes it more interesting, but I don't think it changes it," Sanford said Thursday.

If passed, the referendum would allow the mayor and city council members to serve three consecutive four-year terms. Currently, they can serve two four-year terms.

The city council voted in May to put the issue to voters. Strickland won his first term as mayor in 2015, then won again in 2019.

Early voting begins Friday for the August election.

Wednesday, Strickland was in Washington D.C. for a presentation at the White House Summit on the American Rescue Plan and Workforce.

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So far, Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner has expressed interest in running for Memphis Mayor in 2023. Turner told ABC24 Thursday: "It was my understanding than in the past, Mayor Strickland fully supported term limits and was not seeking political office again. Obviously, I have been exploring the opportunity to seek the office of Memphis Mayor for some time and we will now wait and see what happens August 4th. As of now, I plan on keeping my options open and will continue to explore opportunities to serve this great community."

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