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Bonner makes run for Memphis mayor official

By , Daily Memphian Updated: October 26, 2022 12:31 PM CT | Published: October 25, 2022 1:28 PM CT
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Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner Jr. made it official Tuesday, Oct. 25, formally announcing his candidacy for Memphis mayor.

“Memphis needs a mayor who knows law enforcement,” Bonner told the crowd of about 100 gathered at the Clark Tower in East Memphis.

Bonner, who was just elected to a second term as Shelby County sheriff in August, joins a field that includes former Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner and Downtown Memphis Commission president Paul Young, who announced their candidacies Sept. 1 and have been fundraising and campaigning ever since.

Bonner: ‘I have no issues with moving back into the city’ if he runs for mayor

Candidates considering the race include: First Baptist Church – Broad Avenue pastor Keith Norman; state House Democratic leader Karen Camper; Memphis-Shelby County Schools board member Michelle McKissack; retired Criminal Court Judge Joe Brown, who has appointed a treasurer; former county commissioner James Harvey; and attorney Michael Floyd.

Qualifying petitions to get on the 2023 city ballot won’t be issued until May.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland has about a year left in his second term of office. Term limits bar him from seeking a third consecutive term.

Strickland said he would seek a third term if Memphis voters approved an extension of term limits the Memphis City Council put on the August ballot.

Paul Young opens 2023 Memphis mayoral bid in Oakhaven

The proposed charter amendment was voted down by Memphis voters. And soon after, the field of candidates waiting on the outcome began declaring their intentions, appointing campaign treasurers and making other preparations for a run in 2023.

The level of activity has overshadowed the November election ballot to some degree.

The campaign to change city government

Bonner is not the first Shelby County sheriff to seek a political future outside of the top law enforcement position in county government.

What the past 16 Memphis mayoral elections tell us about the next one

Of the six men to have held the office of county mayor since its creation in 1975, three were former county sheriffs: Bill Morris, Roy Nixon and Mark Lutrell.

Luttrell was elected out of serving his second term as sheriff to serve two more terms as mayor.

McKissack ‘enthusiastically considering’ bid for Memphis mayor

Morris ran for Memphis mayor in the crowded 1967 race that launched the mayor-council form of government and sent rivals Henry Loeb and William Ingram to a runoff, which Loeb won.

Turner opens campaign for Memphis mayor where Forrest statue once stood

Morris later was elected the second Shelby County mayor in 1978, following the restructure of county government in 1975. He is the longest-serving county mayor at 16 years – or four terms – ending in 1994 before the county enacted term limits.

Nixon followed Morris as sheriff and was then elected to a partial term as the first County mayor.


Floyd Bonner Jr. 2023 Memphis Mayor's race

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Bill Dries

Bill Dries

Bill Dries covers city and county government and politics. He is a native Memphian and has been a reporter for more than 40 years.


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