Shelby County mayor A C Wharton continues to shrug off criticism from opponents in the Memphis mayoral race concerning his off-and-on attitude toward forums and debates. With a big lead in the polls, meanwhile, he's vaunting his support from others in the political establishment.
During the last week, Wharton’s campaign released a lengthy list of such endorsers, and the candidate did show-and-tells with some of them on successive days. On Thursday, Wharton appeared at his headquarters with Circuit Court Clerk Jimmy Moore, state Representatives Larry Miller and Ulysses Jones, city councilmen Jim Strickland and Edmond Ford Jr., and Shelby County commissioner Mike Carpenter. Former councilman Edmond Ford Sr. also turned up for the photo-op.
On Friday, it was the turn of Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell, who showed up at Wharton's headquarters to confer his endorsement. "I had not originally intended to endorse anyone," said she sheriff, who would tout the county mayor's cooperation on Operation Safe Community and other crime-fighting issues, "but at a time like this, we need avoid discord and pull together as a community, and Mayor Wharton is the person
to make that happen."
As he has in the past, the county mayor pooh-poohed the need to appear at each and every called gathering of mayoral candidates, though he was scheduled to appear at Saturday night's debate on WREG, News Channel 3, along with former city council member Carol Chumney, acting Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery, and lawyer Charles Carpenter, the latter of whom was scheduled to be feted at a women's luncheon on Saturday.
Taking note of Chumney's criticism of him for running for one job before he had finished with another, Wharton said, "That's exactly what she did. She was running for mayor [in 2007] before she'd finished her commitment to the city council."
Among the other endorsers of Wharton included in a list furnished the media by the candidate’s campaign were the following:
State senators Jim Kyle and Reginald Tate; state Representatives Joe Towns, Jr., Barbara Cooper, Larry Miller,m Lois Deberry, and G. A. Hardaway; county commissioners J.W. Gibson, Sidney Chism, and Henri Brooks; councilman Shea Flinn; Chancery Court clerk Dewun Settle; and school board members Tomeka Hart, Jeff Warren, Freda Williams, and Betty Mallot.