Early voting in the Memphis municipal elections is going on now. Election Day is Oct. 5.
Here’s a guide to who is running:
There are 17 candidates running to replace outgoing Mayor Jim Strickland – who is term limited and cannot run again. Strickland has been in office since 2015.
Carnita Atwater has served as the executive director of the New Chicago Development Corporation. She also ran for Tennessee Governor back in 2022 as a Democrat.
Jennings Bernard is the CEO of National Probation of America and is retired from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. He previously ran for Shelby County Probate Court Clerk in 2018.
Floyd Bonner is currently serving his second term as Shelby County Sheriff. Bonner has been in law enforcement for 42 years and was named 2023 Tennessee Sheriff of the Year by the Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association.
Joe Brown is a former Shelby County Criminal Court judge – who left the bench to host a nationally-syndicated TV program, “Judge Joe Brown” – which ran for 15 years from 1998 to 2013. He then returned to Memphis and ran for Shelby County District Attorney in 2014, losing to Amy Weirich.
Kendra Calico is the president of the World Hunger Trust Fund – Global Christian Trust Fund, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Karen Camper is a longtime Tennessee State Representative and currently serves as House Minority Leader. She was first elected to serve District 87 in a special election in 2008.
J.W. Gibson is the CEO of Gibson Companies – which includes the Premier Group and the Southeast Regional Development Corporation. He has also served on several community boards – including LeMoyne-Owen College and the Methodist Healthcare Foundation. Gibson also served as a Shelby County commissioner from 2006 to 2010.
Reggie Hall is a community activist and the owner of a trucking company. Hall grew up in South Memphis and is an alumnus of Hamilton High School.
James Harvey is a recruitment manager for FedEx Express. He previously served as a vice-president of the Tri-State Bank of Memphis. Harvey also served two terms on the Shelby County Commission.
Willie Herenton is looking to return to the City Hall – nearly 15 years after leaving office as the city’s first elected African American mayor. Herenton was first elected in 1991 and resigned in 2009. Before he was elected mayor, Herenton served as the superintendent for Memphis City Schools.
Michelle McKissack is currently serving as a member of the Memphis-Shelby County School Board. She previously worked as an anchor/reporter at WPTY ABC 24 (now WATN) and here at WREG News Channel 3.
Brandon Price is an LGBTQ+ activist who ran for the District 84 seat in the Tennessee House in 2022.
Justina Ragland is a community activist. Her campaign website does not profile a professional background – but she says she’s “passionate about community” and “passionate about unity”.
Tekeva Shaw is a realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Taliesyn Realty, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Van Turner is a civil rights attorney with Turner Feild Law and currently serves as the president of the Memphis Branch of the NAACP. He is a former Shelby County commissioner, serving from 2014 to 2022.
Derek Winn is a University of Memphis graduate. According to his LinkedIn profile, he currently works as a bakery assistant with Hive | Bagel and Deli.
Paul Young is the president and CEO of the Downtown Memphis Commission. He previously served as the director of the City of Memphis Division of Housing and Community Development and administrator of the Memphis and Shelby County Division of Planning and Development.
MEMPHIS CITY COUNCIL
There are contested races for 11 of the 13 seats on the City Council this year.
Unlike the mayor’s race and Super Districts 8-9, runoffs are possible in Districts 1-7 if no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote. If needed, the runoff will be held on November 16.
In District 1, incumbent Rhonda Logan is being challenged by Kymberly Kelley.
Logan was first elected in 2019 and is going for her second and final term.
We could not find any information about Kelley or her platform online.
There are six candidates running for the open District 2 seat – Keith Burks, Will Frazier, Jerri Green, Scott McCormick, Rodanial Ray Ransom and Marvin White.
McCormick served on the City Council from 2004 to 2008 and later served on the Shelby County School Board.
Green is a senior policy advisor to Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris. She previously ran for the House District 83 seat in 2020.
Frazier and Ransom have also previously sought seats in the Tennessee General Assembly. Frazier ran in House District 84 in 2020 while Ransom ran in Senate District 32 back in 2018.
White was a candidate for the District 2 seat during the previous election in 2019.
Burks is a political newcomer – who served in the U.S. Army for 21 years.
Current Councilman Frank Colvett, Jr. is term limited and cannot run again.
There are five candidates in the race for the open District 3 seat – Ricky Dixon, James Kirkwood, Kaye McNeary, Towanna Murphy and Pearl Walker.
Dixon is a retired U.S. Army major who previously ran for two seats in the Tennessee General Assembly House District 85 in 2018 and Senate District 29 in 2014.
Kirkwood is the lead pastor at Ambassador for Christ Ministries and the executive director of the Memphis Christian Pastors Network. He also served as a Memphis police officer for more than 30 years.
McNeary is a political newcomer who has worked in transportation with the Shelby County School district for more than 30 years.
Murphy is a radio and television personality and the CEO of Project Let’s Read.
Walker is a community activist in Whitehaven. She ran in Super District 8 during the last city election in 2019.
Current Councilwoman Patrice Robinson is term limited and cannot run again.
In District 4, incumbent Jana Swearengen-Washington is being challenged by Teri Dockery.
Swearengen-Washington is going for her first full term in office. She won the seat during a special election in 2022 – replacing her sister, Jamita Swearengen, who resigned after being elected Shelby County Circuit Court Clerk.
Dockery previously served District 4 as the interim councilwoman appointed after Jamita Swearengen’s resignation in 2022. She also ran for Shelby County Commission in 2022.
There are three candidates running for the open District 5 seat – Luke Hatler, Meggan Kiel and Philip Spinosa.
Spinosa previously served on the council in Super District 9 from 2015 to 2017. He resigned to work for the Greater Memphis Chamber. Spinosa also worked at FedEx for 16+ years.
Kiel is an educator and has served as a guidance counselor at REACH Memphis and the Soulsville Charter School. She also helped create the Memphis Interfaith Coalition for Action and Hope, known as MICAH.
Hatler is a political newcomer and possibly the youngest candidate on the ballot. He’s a senior at White Station High School and is running on a progressive platform.
Current Councilman Worth Morgan is term limited and cannot run again.
In District 6, incumbent Edmund Ford, Sr. is being challenged by two candidates – Keith Austin and Larry Hunter.
Ford was first elected to the council in 1999 and served until 2007. He returned to the council in 2019 and is seeking his second and final term. Ford is the founder of the E.H. Ford Mortuary and has been a funeral director in the Memphis area since 1979.
Austin grew up in the Walker Homes area and attended LeMoyne-Owen College.
Hunter is a pastor and the founder of Touched by an Angel Ministries.
In District 7, incumbent Michalyn Easter-Thomas is being challenged by six candidates – Edward Douglas, Jimmy Hassan, Jarrett Parks, Dee Reed, Austin Rowe and Larry Springfield.
Easter-Thomas was first elected in 2019 and is going for her second and final term on the council. She is the founder of the non-profit organization, Our Grass Our Roots.
Douglas is a recent graduate of the University of Memphis who campaigned for a seat in Super District 8 back in 2019.
Hassan is a businessman. He previously ran for the District 7 seat back in 2019 and lost to Easter-Thomas.
Parks is longtime Memphis police officer and a community activist.
Reed is the owner of Fluff Beauty and The Lavender Room Beauty Bar. She is a graduate of the Memphis Ambassador Program and worked with the City of Memphis Division of Parks and Neighborhoods.
Rowe is a realtor and the president of the Mid-South LGBT Chamber. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance.
Springfield is a musician and business owner. He previously ran for the District 7 seat in 2019.
SUPER DISTRICT 8
Incumbent J.B. Smiley, Jr. is running unopposed for his Position 1 seat in Super District 8. He was first elected in 2019 and is going for his second and final term.
Smiley ran as a Democrat for Tennessee Governor in 2022, competing in a three-way primary with mayoral candidate Carnita Atwater and eventual Democratic nominee Dr. Jason Martin.
Three candidates are running for the open Position 2 seat in Super District 8 – Marion LaTroy Alexandria-Williams, Jr., Davin Clemons and Janika White.
Alexandria-Williams previously ran for Tennessee Senate in District 33 back in 2022. He is the son of perennial political candidate Marion LaTroy Alexandria-Williams, Sr.
Clemons ran for City Council in District 6 back in 2019. Clemons is a longtime Memphis police officer and has served as the department’s LGBTQ liaison. He sued MPD back in 2014 for discrimination.
White is an attorney. She ran in the Democratic primary for Shelby County District Attorney in 2022, losing to eventual D.A. Steve Mulroy.
Current Councilwoman Cheyenne Johnson is not running for re-election.
Seven candidates are running for the open Position 3 seat in Super District 8 – Berlin Boyd, Lucille Catron, Yolanda Cooper-Sutton, Brian Harris, Damon Curry Morris, Jerred Price and Paul Randolph, Jr.
Boyd works for FedEx and previously served two stints on the council in District 7 in 2011 then served a full term from 2015 to 2019. He was defeated by Easter-Thomas in 2019.
Catron has served as the president of the Beale Street Development Corporation and has been involved with the Shelby County Democratic Party.
Cooper-Sutton is a community organizer and former business owner and entrepreneur.
Harris is a Westwood native and currently works with Best Buy, Inc.
Curry Morris is a youth advocate and former educator with Memphis City Schools. He ran for the Shelby County School Board back in 2014.
Price is a community organizer and serves as President Emeritus of the Downtown Neighborhood Association. He previously ran for the City Council in District 7 back in 2019.
Randolph is an OBGYN at the Randolph Women’s Center in South Memphis.
Current Councilman Martavius Jones is term limited and cannot run again.
SUPER DISTRICT 9
In Super District 9, incumbent Chase Carlisle is being challenged by Benji Smith for the Position 1 seat.
Carlisle was first elected in 2019 and is going for his second and final term. He is a developer with the Carlisle Corporation and is a graduate of the University of Memphis.
Smith is a ballroom dancer, teacher, and entrepreneur.
In Super District 9, Position 2, incumbent Ford Canale is being challenged by Brandon Washington.
Canale was first elected in a special election back in 2018 and is going for his second full term in office. He is the co-owner of Canale Funeral Directors.
Washington is a student at Rhodes College and serves as the vice president of the Rhodes Chapter of College Democrats.
Incumbent Dr. Jeff Warren is running unopposed for his Position 3 seat in Super District 9. He was first elected in 2019 and is going for his second and final term.
Dr. Warren is a family physician and served on the Memphis and Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task Force during the pandemic. He previously served two terms on the Memphis City School Board.
► WREG’s Memphis mayoral debate: Full Video
► Sample ballot for Memphis city elections