BY JACKSON BAKER | JUNE 21, 2007
Wednesday night was a hot one for local politics, with three more than usually significant events, and there were any number of dedicated and/or well-heeled visitors to all three:
But Wednesday nights event, a $250-a-head fundraiser for District 5 city council candidate Jim Strickland, was surely a record-setter out-rivaling not only Caliparis prior events but most other such gatherings in Memphis history, including those for senatorial and gubernatorial candidates. A politically diverse crowd estimated at 300 to 500 people showed up, netting Strickland some $57,000 for the night.
That was cash on hand, said the candidate, who expected late checks from non-attendees to drive the evenings total over $60,000. That would give him a war chest of something over $100,000 surely enough, with next months filing deadline looming, to give pause to would-be opponents. (So far as is known, however, intrepid Libertyland activist Dee Parkinson is sticking to her guns about competing for the seat, which is being vacated by mayoral candidate Carol Chumney.)
(Note to Sarge, a reader of this space: While its true that a person cannot be burglarized, a place can damn sure be robbed and Morris HQ was, of computers containing sensitive information, for one thing. Burglary, Sarge, is the breaking-and-entering part; robbery is the point and the consummation of that action. We can play those p-word games, too, but thanks for your close reading and picking of nits; we aint saying that nits dont show up once in a while.)
Right. Meanwhile, Wharton declined to address the most widely speculated-upon subject in Memphis politics: Will he or wont he enter the city mayors race? As everybody knows, and as the county mayor has informally acknowledged, he is the subject these days of non-stop blandishments in that regard, and theres very little doubt that these have accelerated since last weeks dramatic press conference by Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton alleging the 2007 Political Conspiracy.
While some of Mayor Whartons intimates on Wednesday night were keeping to the line that the chances of his running for city mayor were minimal to non-existent, their answers to inquiries about the matter were delivered after what well call meaningfully inflected pauses. The door may be shut for now, but it clearly isnt padlocked.