Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: email@example.com
After months of indecision, all we know is that Willie Herenton doesn't know whether he wants to be mayor of Memphis or not.
Herenton was elected mayor in 1991 and was subsequently reelected to four more four-year terms. He must like the job, right?
But, in early 2008, just a few months after winning his fifth term as mayor, Herenton announced he was calling it quits. He wanted to be school superintendent. Or, he did briefly -- he changed his mind and stayed mayor instead.
This June he announced once again he was leaving, effective July 10. Then, he pushed the date back to the end of the month. Finally, though, on July 31 he resigned as mayor, apparently intent on running for Congress. The Willie Herenton mayoral saga was over -- for two weeks.
Here's the latest from the Memphis Commercial Appeal:
In a move that baffled both allies and critics, Willie W. Herenton took an initial step Thursday toward reclaiming the Memphis mayor's office he retired from less than two weeks ago.
Blaming Memphis Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery's "reckless style of leadership" and a crowded field of mayoral candidates, Herenton walked into the offices of the Shelby County Election Commission Thursday and picked up a petition to run again for mayor.
...In a prepared statement, Herenton said he still plans to run for U.S. Congress in 2010, but that he's concerned about the direction of the city in his absence.
(Hat tip: Eye on 2010)
I doubt that Herenton could win a mayoral election (or, probably, any election) at this point, in part because of his erratic behavior, in part because he would have to answer for costing the city so much money on the special election and in part because it's not clear he was still well-liked anyway.
Then again, there's at least some pro-Herenton sentiment left in Memphis. When he resigned two weeks ago, his supporters chanted, "four more years."
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