Voters in Memphis head to the polls to select mayor

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Voters in Memphis, Tennessee, are deciding who will lead the city for the next four years as they cast ballots in a contentious mayor’s race.

Polls close at 7 p.m. on Thursday in the non-partisan race for mayor in this Mississippi River city.

The contest pits three leading contenders. Incumbent Mayor Jim Strickland is trying to fend off a challenge from Willie Herenton and Tami Sawyer.

Herenton was the city’s first black elected mayor when he won in 1991. He has been out of politics since a failed run for Congress in 2010.

Sawyer is a social activist who currently serves as a Shelby County commissioner.

In a majority black city, experts say winning the African American vote is key. Strickland is white. Herenton and Sawyer are black.

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