Strickland Sweeps Election, Two Council Seats Will Need Runoffs

Oct 4, 2019


Incumbent Mayor Jim Strickland gives his victory speech at the Memphis Botanic Garden October 3, 2019.
Credit Katie Riordan


  • Mayor Jim Strickland wins decisively with 62 percent of the vote over former Mayor Willie Herenton (29%) and County Commissioner Tami Sawyer (7%).
  • Voters approve half-cent sales tax increase to pay for police and firefighters' pensions and benefits. 
  • Runoff elections will be required for two City Council seats, Districts 1 (Rhonda Logan v. Sherman Greer) and 7 (Berlin Boyd v. Michalyn Easter-Thomas). 


Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland will return to City Hall for another four years. 

The popular incumbent soared to a decisive victory Thursday night with more than 60 percent of the vote. He beat ten other candidates, including former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton and County Commissioner Tami Sawyer.  

On both the campaign trail and at a packed victory party at the Memphis Botanic Garden, Strickland touted the city’s economic “momentum.” 

“Tonight’s vote is confirmation that most Memphians do know that Memphis has momentum,” he said. “We haven’t solved all the issues that we have, but they know that we moved the needle in a positive direction.”

Strickland also addressed some of the political rancor that arose in the contest with Herenton and Sawyer.

“We ran a really positive campaign on what we did and what we were proposing in the future,” he said.                                                

With a major fundraising advantage and popularity across a wide spectrum of supporters, Strickland won with 62 percent of the vote. The victory far surupasses his 2015 win—with 40 percent— over incumbent Mayor AC Wharton and eight other candidates.  

“Memphians are united,” Strickland said.  “I think they prioritize public safety, job creation and doing more for young people.” 

Nurse practitioner and Memphis native Kimary Lee-Banks attended Strickland’s victory party and commended the mayor’s focus on revitalizing Downtown Memphis.   

Mayor Strickland's supporters offered praise for his economic development policies.
Credit Katie Riordan


“I grew up in the ‘80s, and I would go Downtown and I would see Main Street and Front Street—the way it used to look,” she said. “Now you see it, it’s vibrant.”

The mayor has promised more action in other neighborhoods over the next four years. 

He has used the Memphis 3.0 Plan to bring attention to areas in need of economic development.

It was also a welcome night for incumbents elsewhere on the ballot, namely the Memphis City Council. All 13 council seats were up for grabs with more than 50 candidates in the running.  

Seven members won re-election. Another two will face a runoff. City Council appointee Sherman Greer will face Rhonda Logan in District One and former City Council Chair Berlin Boyd will face Shelby County school teacher Michalyn Easter-Thomas in District Seven. 

Among the evening's most narrow victories, 52 percent of voters approved a half-cent sales tax hike to support an increase in pension and benefits for police and firefighters. 

Mayor Strickland said he recognized “the will of the people”  and would work to implement the tax increase.

But he acknowledged, “I don’t exactly how we’ll do that or how fast we can do that.” 



*Indicates Incumbent


Memphis Mayor: Jim Strickland* (62.1%)

City Council, District 1: Rhonda Logan/Sherman Greer (RUNOFF NEEDED)

City Council, District 2: Frank Colvett, Jr.* (60%)

City Council, District 3: Patrice Jordan Robinson* (74.4%)

City Council, District 4: Jamita E. Swearengen* (69%)

City Council, District 5: Worth Morgan* (60%)

City Council, District 6: Edmund H. Ford (65.2%)

City Council, District 7: Berlin Boyd*/Michalyn Easter-Thomas (RUNOFF NEEDED)

City Council, Super District 8, Position 1: JB Smiley Jr. (34.3%)

City Council, Super District 8, Position 2: Cheyenne Johnson* (51.8%)

City Council, Super District 8, Position 3: Martavius D. Jones* (47%)

City Council, Super District 9, Position 1: Chase Carlisle (50.4%)

City Council, Super District 9, Position 2: Ford Canale* (59.4%)

City Council, Super District 9, Position 3: Jeff Warren (51.1%)

Memphis Referendum on Local Option Sales Tax increase: FOR (52.5%)

Court Clerk: Myron Lowery (39.5%)

Municipal Judge, Division 1: Teresa D. Jones* (72.6%)

Municipal Judge, Division 2: Tarik B. Sugarmon* (99.3%)

Municipal Judge, Division 3: Jayne Chandler* (60.4%)