© 2024 WKNO FM
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Paul Young Elected Next Mayor of Memphis

Paul Young Campaign Facebook Page

A former member of Mayor Jim Strickland’s administration will soon replace him as the city’s next top official.

Paul Young, the current head of the Downtown Memphis Commission, claimed victory Thursday night in Memphis’ competitive mayoral election.

In his first campaign for public office, Young captured nearly 30 percent of the vote in a nonpartisan race with no runoff.

He faced a packed ballot with 16 other candidates. His top competitors included Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner, former Mayor Willie Herenton and former county commissioner and leader of the local NAACP branch, Van Turner.

Bonner – who touted his lengthy experience in law enforcement during the campaign – came in second place with about 4,500 fewer votes than Young. Herenton followed in third and Turner a close fourth.

While addressing supporters at his election night watch party in Midtown, Young encouraged unity now that the campaigning was over.

“I want to invite everybody that supported another candidate to join this team. And when I talk about this team, it’s not the Young team. It’s the Memphis team,” he said to applause.

In the hours after the polls closed, Bonner, Herenton and Turner all conceded the race and congratulated Young.

The 43-year-old Memphis native grew up in the Oakhaven neighborhood. Before taking over leadership of the Downtown Memphis Commission in 2021, he directed the city’s Division of Housing and Community Development, a position appointed by Mayor Strickland, who is terming out of office.

Throughout his campaign, Young pitched his experience in government to voters and pledged public safety as one of his top priorities.

He called for investments in the police force but also in community centers and mental health resources to tackle the root causes of crime.

Voter turnout was muted, according to unofficial numbers, with a little less than 88,400 ballots cast for mayor, or roughly 24 percent of registered voters.

Young’s term begins in January.

This post has been updated.

Katie is a part-time WKNO contributor. She's always eager to hear your story ideas. You can email her at kriordan@wkno.org