MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – A lot of people want to be Mayor of Memphis. So far, seventeen people have pulled petitions to run for that office, including a couple of ballot veterans
These guys are different. One is Leo Awgowhat. Remember him? The guy was found guilty for vandalizing the old General Nathan Bedford Forrest statue. The police knew it was him because he wrote his name on the statue.
The other is Robert “Prince Mongo” Hodges. He changed history once. Political consultant and former columnist Susan Adler Thorp said, “Mongo had definitely had an effect on the 1991 Memphis Mayors race when Mayor (Willie) Herenton beat Mayor (Dick) Hackett by 143 votes. Mongo got well over 2,000.”
Mongo claims he is from the planet Zambodia. The fact that there is no such planet as Zambodia doesn’t seem to bother him. Sometimes he wears a wig and goggles in public, which is what the well-dressed Zambodian wears. The job of prince must pay well, because we were told he owns three houses in the city including one in the Berclair neighborhood.
Robert “Prince Mongo” Hodges has a message: the city made a mistake taking down the Confederate statues he says.
He is serious about running and says he is serious about winning, although he says he will be wearing his dreadlock wig and goggles in public if he “damn well wants to.”
Susan Adler Thorp says Robert “Prince Mongo” Hodges received less than 300 votes when he ran for city mayor four years ago. She thinks he will just be a name on the ballot if he can get enough signatures on his petition.
“In a race like this, that’s not that close right now,” she says, “he’s not going to be a spoiler. But every town has its bizarre character.”
Petitions must have at least 25 valid signatures. They are due on July 18. One week later is the deadline for anybody who wants to withdraw from the election.
“Pulling the petition is not as important as actually filing for a race,” Thorp says. “But even more important than filing is the week later, when you can withdraw. Let’s see how many people drop out from the time they file to the time of withdrawal. The names that end up on the ballot after the withdrawal time, that’s what counts.”