Meet The Candidates – Memphis Mayor Special Election

The date’s been set, and even though the filing deadline is over a month away, some 10 candidates have declared their interest to run.

Due to the abbreviated nature of the campaign, learning about the candidates for Mayor of Memphis is probably going to be a cram fest. In an effort to help people find information on the candidates I’ll be posting fairly regularly about ways candidates are reaching out to voters. Most of this will deal with the ways they are using the internet to attract support, but as time goes on other things may be covered also.

Because it’s so early in the campaign, not everyone is up to speed. The inclusion of candidates who aren’t “up to speed” on this list is not an attempt to besmirch them, but to keep the list as comprehensive as possible. As always, candidates are welcome to contact me with new information and resources as their campaigns ramp up.

Without further ado, here are your candidates so far:

Candidates are listed in the order of their internet presence strength first, then by electoral strength when there’s a tie

County Mayor AC Wharton – Wharton’s decision to jump in the race should come as no surprise. Since his early consideration back in the 2007 election, his name has consistently come up as the heir apparent. That his campaign also mobilized far more quickly than anyone else should also come as no surprise as he has been raising money for this run since just after the 2007 election.

His website is clean and professional looking, with shades of the Obama campaign website apparent. My only complaint about the website is the manner in which issues are discussed. Currently, this page is just a list of editorials and news clippings. Still, this is far and away more comprehensive than most announced candidates. The priorities page is less comprehensive, but gives a good overview of his positions.

Wharton has also been using social media very effectively. His twitter feed is by far the best use of the medium I’ve seen in a local election, and he also has a Facebook fan page is impressive. It’s interesting that his site currently doesn’t mention either. Oversight perhaps?

Charles Carpenter – Carpenter, the former campaign manager for several Herenton campaigns, jumped out of the gate fast with his site. The design is relatively simple, but has plenty of meat to it. The issues page is hardly comprehensive, but gives the reader a good idea of his positions. I find it interesting that he worked with Herenton all those years, but opposes a metro government, for instance.

Carpenter also has a twitter feed, which I coincidentally found on his front page, as well as a link to facebook that actually takes you to his personal friend page.

Jerry Lawler – Lawler’s site is sparse, though it has some potential. His Letter to the People of Memphis is the closest thing I’ve found to an issues page. I’m sure some of this will change over time. He also is using twitter and facebook though I hate the way the facebook link works on the page.

Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery – Lowery’s internet presence is far less impressive. He lacks a campaign website, though you can find him both at his city page and on twitter.

Lowery’s use of twitter, so far, has been sparse but instructive. He consistently posts interesting things about what’s going on in the city. That’s great and all, but if he expects to win the election he’s going to have to mobilize to a far greater extent.

Former City Councilwoman Carol Chumney – Chumney, who placed second in the 2007 Mayoral election, currently has no internet presence aside from a twitter page that has but one entry. I have it on good authority that a web page is in the works, though it will not appear at her former site due to a cyber squatter. Once the page is live I’ll be sure to link it either here, or in a future post.

School Board Member Rev. Kenneth Whalum Jr. – Whalum, a member of the Memphis City School Board and pastor at The New Olivet Baptist Church is perhaps one of the most colorful characters in the race, besides Prince Mongo. Outspoken and often controversial (his church once had a sign out front that used the word ass), he has his own ideas, as evidenced by this video. Whalum also has a twitter feed that’s just getting started.

City Councilwoman Wanda Halbert – Halber, who just announced her intention to run on Monday is also a little behind the curve. This is to be expected considering how recently she announced. She does have a twitter account though this may be a personal one, and is currently protected. Perhaps in the future she will have something more campaign oriented.

Commisioner James Harvey – To the best of my knowledge, Harvey has no real internet presence, with the exception of his page on the Shelby Co. Government site. You may remember this nifty sign I saw at the Chism Picnic. Other than that, not much else has been seen or heard from Commissioner Harvey.

Sharon Webb – A former member of the Memphis Charter Commision, Webb has also been pretty quiet in the mix. We’ll see.

Prince MongoNewscoma’s favorite candidate. He hasn’t been able to ride the space beanie to victory yet, and aside from news articles and a very old website, there’s not much out there…but him.

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