MEMPHIS, Tenn. — We may be nearly a year out from the 2023 Memphis mayoral election but Tuesday, an already crowded field just got more crowded.
After weeks of hints, Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner made his mayoral campaign official at an event atop Clark Tower in East Memphis.
In August, Bonner won another four-year term as Sheriff of Shelby County. It was the only county-wide race where Republicans did not offer a challenger against the Democrat.
Bonner is attempting to make history again. Voters elected him to be the first Black Shelby County Sheriff in 2018 and he's now attempting to be the first Shelby County Sheriff to run - and win - a race for Memphis mayor.
Bonner joins a list of other candidates or prospective candidates with name recognition.
Memphis Shelby County School Board Member Michelle McKissack plans to run for mayor and a source told ABC24 there'll be an official announcement soon.
Paul Young - head of the Downtown Memphis Commission - and former Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner also announced their mayoral bids last month.
Political analyst Susan Adler Thorp said Bonner's announcement makes him the formidable candidate to beat now, though he could still face tough competition against candidates with their own bases of support.
Thorp also told ABC24 that Bonner could freeze out other candidates from entering the mayoral race.
Back in August, the Memphis mayoral and city council term limits referendum failed with more than 65% of voters voting against the referendum. This meant current Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland could not run for a third term in office in 2023.
The filing deadline for Memphis mayor isn't until July 2023. Thorp believes in the coming months, fundraising will be key to show which candidates are garnering the most early buzz and solidified early momentum among their supporters.