By Linda A. Moore
Former Shelby County commissioner Deidre Malone will again seek the Democratic nomination for Shelby County mayor next year, hoping to win the right to challenge the incumbent, Republican Mark Luttrell. Malone, president and CEO of The Carter Malone Group, sees her bid for mayor as an opportunity to give the county new leadership and to work with the County Commission.
In the 2010 Democratic primary, Malone lost to then-interim county mayor Joe Ford. “I feel like at this time, in this county, we need somebody who has the ability to work with the legislative body to move an agenda forward,” Malone said. “I haven’t seen that happen. The last 2½ years have been something to watch.”
The head of a marketing, public relations and advertising firm, Malone is already talking to county residents about the race on May 6, 2014. “We’re doing dialogues with Deidre all over the county and we’re also meeting with individuals to see what their thoughts are about the direction the county should be going in and my leadership,” Malone said.
Malone served eight years as a county commissioner, including terms as chairwoman and budget committee chairwoman. In 2010 she placed second with 12,916 votes (36.4 percent) in a three-way race for the Democratic nomination, losing to Ford, who got 20,360 votes (57.4 percent), and beating Otis Jackson, who received 2,168 votes (6.1 percent). In the general election Ford received 73,518 votes (41.2 percent), but lost to Luttrell, who received 102,295 votes (57.8 percent). That defeat has not impacted her decision to run.
“It’s something I’m very serious about. I was serious about it last time and I’m even more serious about it this time,” she said.
Malone is the only Democrat to announce plans to run. Commissioner Steve Mulroy, also a Democrat, said he has been approached about running but is “still thinking it over.” He has served two consecutive terms on the commission and cannot run again next year. “The most important factor is I really love being a law professor and that’s a full-time job,” said Mulroy, who teaches at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. County mayor is also a full-time job. However, Malone’s decision to run will not affect his, Mulroy said. “I think I have a good chance against really anybody in this race. It’s wide open right now,” he said. Luttrell has not officially announced his plans to run, but said he does intend to seek re-election. So far, no other Republican has come forward to challenge him.