• Mayor Jim Strickland and former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton will not attend mayoral debate

    By: Siobhan Riley

    Updated:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Mayor Jim Strickland and former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton are not attending Tuesday night’s mayoral candidate's forum in Memphis.

    That’s causing a lot of controversy across the city.

    Some people we spoke with said it’s tough to vote for the next mayor when two major candidates keep turning down debates.

    Voters said it makes them feel like some of the candidates do not care.

    The Memphis mayoral race is less than a month away, but voters will not hear from candidates like incumbent Mayor Jim Strickland and former Mayor Willie Herenton at Tuesday night’s mayoral forum.

    The Memphis Urban League Young Professionals invited all candidates to attend.

    “Their effort is going to be our effort, they don’t want to debate, we don’t want to come out and support,” said voter Carleton Douglas.

    Eight candidates will attend Tuesday night’s debate. Herenton’s campaign manager told us Herenton will not debate at all because debates are not part of his strategy.


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    Strickland’s campaign manager said the campaign was working on a debate with media outlets recently, but Herenton pulled out at the last minute.

    “I like to see debates, but I can understand Herenton and Strickland not doing it. We already know both of their track records, we know a lot about them, we know more about them then Tammi Sawyer,” another voter Becky Lloyd explained.

    When we asked Strickland’s campaign manager why he decided to not attend Tuesday’s debate, he said members of Memphis Urban League never had a conversation with the campaign manager.

    Memphis Urban League Young Professionals told us they reached out several times and Strickland even told them in person he was going to out of town.

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