King Willie says he is leaving office to "pursue other challenges" effective 31 July.

With Herenton’s resignation, Memphis’ charter dictates that City Council chairman Scott McCormick will become mayor for 20 days. The council then will vote to appoint an interim mayor to serve until the next municipal or general election, which is scheduled for November. If the council cannot agree on an interim mayor within the 20 days, then CAO McGee becomes mayor until the next election.

Herenton, Memphis mayor since 1991, was re-elected to his fifth term just last November in a contentious three-way race. With his resignation, the city will be subjected to another expensive mayoral election process.

Willie says that he is considering several options, including returning to education from whence he came. A FOH (friend of Herenton) says that Willie is considering either going back to be the Memphis City Schools Superintendent or running for the Ninth Congressional District seat.

But one cannot help but wonder if his sudden departure has anything to do with the ongoing investigations:

As recently as December a federal grand jury subpoenaed records related to Herenton’s association with a city contractor.

The rumors of more arrests spinning off from Tennessee Waltz have refused to die, but I have come to the conclusion that this was more wishful thinking than anything else. Indeed, I think Left Wing Cracker may be correct when he suggests otherwise:

Does this have anything to do with the Grand Jury investigation, or is it just that he wanted one last electoral victory to say F— YOU to those who wanted him out?