MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There's more than a million dollars in the Memphis mayoral race.
Incumbent Mayor Jim Strickland has been the front runner from the start but both former Mayor Willie Herenton and County Commissioner Tami Sawyer are bringing big dollar donations too. After months of campaigning, Strickland still has a war chest of more than $320,000.
This report shows Strickland spent more than $700,000 on advertising alone.
"As expected, Mayor Strickland has a huge lead in the amount of money that he can spend and that's definitely going to be an advance in the election," said Steven Mulroy, law professor at the University of Memphis.
Former Mayor Willie Herenton has 41,790.10 cash on hand and Commissioner Tami Sawyer has $46,036.64 cash on hand.
Herenton got some big dollar donations from Political Action Committees, and some individuals outside of Memphis. Mulroy said that isn't illegal, but one of Herenton's largest donation for $7,600 came from the Memphis Fire Fighters Association.
"Any time you can get consolidated union support that's going to help because they have man power for volunteers, phone banking, working the polls, and they have PAC checks that they can write," said Mulroy.
Sawyer's report shows a mixture of donations from Memphis and around the country but most of her four-digit dollars are from Memphis residents. Her campaign also spent almost $4,800 on text messaging, plus another $4,500 on radio ads.
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"Not surprising that she would be using more of a ground game grassroots strategy and more 21st century methods like text messaging and social media," said Mulroy.
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