By Samuel Hardiman | Memphis Commercial Appeal
Memphis City Councilman JB Smiley, Jr. is considering a run for governor, he confirmed Monday.
Smiley, 33, filed campaign finance paperwork last week with the state of Tennessee. The paperwork allows a potential Smiley campaign to raise cash for a potential bid for governor.
Smiley said in an interview Monday that he and his campaign are “having conversations with stakeholders” and he was “mulling a run,” for the 2022 Democratic nomination. If he decided to run, an announcement would come in the next several weeks.
Smiley had hinted throughout 2021 that he might be considering a run for higher office and that he had ambitions beyond the Memphis City Council. He was elected as a Super District 8 representative in 2019 and began his term on Jan. 1, 2020.
During his time on council, Smiley has been an outspoken voice for equity as part of a new and growing progressive faction of the council. In one instance, he pressured Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland to hold off on renewing a ramping permit — the ability to claim specific parking spots — for the restaurant Flight, which had been accused of racist behavior. Strickland delayed approving the permits.
Smiley has also emerged as a dealmaker, working to save pieces of colleagues’ legislation through amendments that made the bills more palatable to other members of the 13-member council.
Smiley, a lawyer, holds a law degree from the University of Arkansas -Little Rock and attended Tennessee Technological University and the University of Pikeville in Kentucky.