After weeks of intense speculation, it’s about to become official. Shelby County Pubic Defender A C Wharton will formally announce his candidacy for county mayor at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning at The Peabody. News of Wharton’s taking the plunge comes only days after he gave serious second thoughts to holding back from running, according to sources connected with at least the periphery of the campaign. Further into the hard core of Wharton’s support, however, were the likes of Bobby Lanier, the longtime administrative aide to both former county mayor Bill Morris and incumbent mayor Jim Rout and an early enthusiast for a Wharton candidacy after Rout declared some weeks back he would vacate the seat. Lanier served ultimately as a decisive source of support and encouragement for the well-liked and highly regarded (but traditionally cautious) man known almost universally in political, legal, and governmental circles as A C. Wharton’s entry would seem to virtually complete a Democratic field that already includes Bartlett banker Harold Byrd, State Senator Jim Kyle, and State Representative Carol Chumney. None of these have so far given any indication that they’re thinking of withdrawing. The main remaining mystery is the identity of the mainstream Republican contender. At least two public figures are still strongly considering making the race-- District Attorney General Bill Gibbons and lawyer and former Memphis city councilman John Bobango. J.B.; J.B.

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