Sammons Talks Up Mayor's Race

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Jack Sammons, a veteran of three stints on the Memphis city council, the last one a temporary fill-in appointment to fill a vacancy just last year, says he is drawn very strongly to the idea of running for mayor in the October special election called to elect a successor to Mayor Willie Herenton.

"In my business career, I've had a hand in a lot of turnarounds, and Memphis is definitely an enterprise that needs a turnaround," said Sammons, when contacted by the Flyer Friday. He added, "I've devoted a lot of time and a lot of thought to the needs of Memphis, and I've been fortunate to have had the opportunity to make contributions to the city. Being mayor would certainly allow me to do so in the future. So it looks very much like I'll run."

But Sammons said he was aware that other people with viewpoints and concerns similar to his own had expressed interest in a mayor's race, and he said he would be in contact with them "over the next two weeks" to make sure there was no duplication of effort. One potential candidate that Sammons said he'd already talked to is Jim Strickland, a first-term councilman who acknowledges an interest in running for mayor.

"I'm a big fan of Jim Strickland. I've had a fundraiser for him in my home," Sammons said. "But this is something that I, too, am interested in doing. So we'll be talking, and we'll see what happens."

Strickland confirmed that he and Sammons had talked. He said Sammons called him "about 7 or 8 p.m." Thursday, several hours after Mayor Willie Herenton's surprise announcement that he would be vacating the mayor's office on July 10.

"I feel the same way he does," said Strickland -- meaning, as he spelled that out, that he reciprocated Sammons's admiration but that fact would not dissuade him from making a mayoral bid, nor would Sammons' presence in the race necessarily do so.

"The way we left it, was that he pointed out that nothing had to be done until July 17th," Srickland said. That would be the provisional deadline for filing for the special mayoral election, which will probably take place on Thursday, October 8th. But Election Commission administrator Rich Holden said Friday that, while those dates are likely, they have not been certified yet by the commission, which is waiting on an official notice of election from the city council.

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