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Memphis Mayor Loses Re-Election to Councilman

Voters in majority-black Memphis on Thursday elected the city's first white mayor in 24 years as City Councilman Jim Strickland's message of change propelled him over incumbent A C Wharton.

Voters in majority-black Memphis on Thursday elected the city's first white mayor in 24 years as City Councilman Jim Strickland's message of change propelled him over incumbent A C Wharton.

 

Although a glitch caused a delay of several hours in tallying the vote, Wharton conceded to Strickland shortly after 10 p.m., saying he had no regrets about the race. Strickland declared victory a few minutes later.

 

Complete but unofficial returns showed Strickland took 42 percent of the vote to Wharton's 22 percent. Harold Collins captured 18 percent and Mike Williams had 16 percent. Six other candidates stood at less than 1 percent each. There is no runoff in the mayor's race.

 

Strickland was the only white contender among the four major candidates.

 

It was a rare victory for a challenger against an incumbent — the most recent was Willie Herenton's historic 1991 win over Dick Hackett — and the first time a council member will move into the city's top job since 1972.

 

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
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