Willie Herenton, in Campaign Mode, Tries to Ignite a Spark at Sidney Chism's Annual Picnic



Herenton (right) sought out GOP candidate Oldham
  • JB
  • Herenton (right) sought out GOP candidate Oldham
Maybe the certifiably underdog congressional campaign of former Mayor Willie Herenton is getting off the ground too late, and maybe not. But Herenton does at last seem to be campaigning for real.

With less than six weeks to go before all the votes are counted in his Democratic primary contest with incumbent 9th District congressman Steve Cohen, Herenton addressed attendees at the annual picnic of his major political ally, Shelby County Commissioner and former Teamster leader Sidney Chism.

Herenton even seemed to be undertaking ancillary political acts of a pragmatic sort. In the picture at right, for example, he is seen shaking hands with Republican Sheriff’s candidate Bill Oldham, whom he had sought out on the picnic grounds. In the presence of the media, Herenton made a point of praising Oldham, the current chief deputy in the Sheriff’s Department and someone who had served for the better part of 1999 as interim police director while he was mayor.

The former mayor extolled Oldham’s integrity, ability, and dedication, and, while stating for the record that he would not be getting involved in the Sheriff’s race, wished the former director well.

Lest this be seen only as a casual act of ordinary graciousness, it needs to be remembered that Oldham’s opponent on August 5 is Randy Wade, a former deputy whose most recent employment was as Cohen’s district director and who is basically running in tandem with Cohen. Earlier in this past week, in a League of Women Voters debate with Oldham at the Hooks Main Library, Wade had made several charges that had the effect of impugning Oldham’s record.

Here readers can view Herenton's stump speech in full, complete with a cryptic reference by the former mayor to an unidentified “traitor” on the grounds at Chism’s picnic:


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