MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Former Memphis Mayor Dr. Willie Herenton announced Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, that he was throwing his hat in the race… again… for the city’s top spot.
Herenton served five consecutive terms as the first Black Memphis mayor – beginning in 1991 and lasting for about 17 years.
Can Herenton actually run again now that the city has term limits in place for the mayor?
Yes, Dr. Herenton can run again. Here’s why.
What We Found
In 2008, voters imposed a limit of two, four-year terms for the mayor and council. On the Memphis public library' website, term limits for the mayor are listed as a four-year term with a two-year consecutive term limit.
The City of Memphis directed us to the Shelby County Election Commission for confirmation.
Administrator of Elections Linda Philips sent a statement saying, “We abide by the term limits established in the charter of the city of Memphis. The charter provision limiting elected officials to two terms was added after Doctor Willie Herenton left office; therefore, I cannot see anything that would prevent him from running again.”
So, because voters decided on the two, four-year term limits after Herenton's five-term stint as mayor, it appears he is well within his rights to run again.
Herenton declined to interview with ABC24 at this time.
Herenton joins a crowded field. City Councilman Frank Colvett, Jr. announced his candidacy for Memphis mayor Feb. 2. Memphis-Shelby County Schools (MSCS) Chairwoman Michelle McKissack officially announced her bid in January. Democratic State Rep. Karen Camper announced her candidacy in November.
Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner announced his candidacy in October. Downtown Memphis Commission CEO Paul Young and Memphis NAACP President Van Turner were the first public entrants to officially announce their candidacy in September.