MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A familiar face in Memphis politics announced Monday he is joining the crowded field running for Memphis mayor this year.

“We need proven leadership,” said Willie Herenton in a video on his Facebook page.

Herenton, 82, previously served as Memphis mayor from 1992 until he stepped down after five re-elections in 2009. He was the first African-American to hold that office, and previously had served as school superintendent in Memphis.

Since then, Herenton has run unsuccessful campaigns against Steve Cohen for the 9th District House seat in 2009, and against Jim Strickland for mayor in 2019.

Herenton becomes the 11th candidate to announce he will throw his hat in the ring for the top job in Memphis this year. Candidates have not yet officially filed their qualifying petitions.

Last week, Memphis City Councilman Frank Colvett announced his candidacy. That brings the potential field to:

  • Business owner Daniel Abston
  • Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner
  • Retired judge Joe Brown
  • State Rep. Karen Camper
  • Frank Colvett
  • Businessman and former county commissioner J.W. Gibson
  • Willie Herenton
  • Memphis-Shelby school board member Michelle McKissack
  • Business owner Hastina Robinson
  • NAACP president and former county commissioner Van Turner Jr.
  • Downtown Memphis Commission President Paul Young.

The election for Memphis Mayor will be held Oct. 5. Current Mayor Jim Strickland is limited to two terms.