Going on now for more than a decade, County Commissioner Sidney Chism's annual political picnic is where the local Democratic Party's big players announce their big news, try to solidify connections and do the sideline pushing to forward agendas.
This year's event was held this past Sunday (June 9) at his urban mini ranch in Whitehaven and it did not disappoint.
At the top of the list was the announcement by former county commissioner Deidre Malone that she will be filing to run for Shelby County Mayor in the Democratic Party primary scheduled for May 6th, 2014.
"Yes, absolutely, I'm running," Malone said. "As I look at the leadership of this community I don't think the current leadership cares about the inner city. He (Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell Jr.) is prone to doing what he thinks is best for the suburbs, but as (county) mayor you have to represent seven municipalities.
"Memphis is one of them and I don't see what he's done for Memphis. He paints himself as an independent but I don't see where his work reflects that," said Malone. "He's not a liberal, he's a Republican. I was a progressive legislator when I was in office and I will continue to be if I am able to win."
Luttrell, who attended the picnic, said he wasn't totally surprised by Malone's announcement.
"It had been rumored for several months. There's always competition in politics at this level and I look forward to a vibrant race that focuses on the issues," said Luttrell.
"It gives me a chance to defend my record and I look forward to answering any question the public might have. I'm ready to stand and be held accountable."
Malone is the co-owner of the Carter-Malone Group, a full-service marketing firm. According to its website, the firm is the largest, woman-owned PR agency in the Mid-South, as well as the third largest.
Malone served the maximum two terms on the County Commission. She ran for Shelby County Mayor in 2010, losing in the Democratic Primary to then-Interim Shelby County mayor Joe Ford.
"People keep asking me about my fundraising strength, but you have to remember what happened when I ran in 2010, Malone said. "I was out there running and then the interim mayor, Ford, jumped in the race. Being the incumbent and a Ford, he was naturally able to raise more money,
"But the difference between now and then is that Luttrell is a Republican," said Malone.
"If he is so liberal, as he claims, he would be a Democrat. We (the African American and Democratic voting body) need to pull together and defeat him if we're going to help our people."
Luttrell stayed on message, encouraging a look at his record and referencing a distinction between political parties on the state and local levels.
"Just like with the Democratic Party, you have different groups and different factions in the Republican Party. Not all Democrats think the same and not all Republicans think the same."
His administration has "worked very hard in economic recruitment to assure that we have created adequate opportunities for minorities and women to apply and be considered for business and advancement in county government," he said.
"I'm very pleased with what we have accomplished."