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Even though none of the three is on the ballot, this year’s city elections in Paris hold special importance for District 7 councilman Dr. AJ Hashmi, District 4 councilman Dr. Richard Grossnickle, and District 5 councilman Matt Frierson.
Whether Hashmi will be mayor for a fourth straight year depends on whether at least three of the four incumbents who are on the May 10 city election ballot can win re-election to the Paris City Council.
It takes four votes to be mayor, one of which is his own. He cannot expect support from either Grossnickle or Frierson, who frequently found themselves on the opposite side from Hashmi on key issues in recent months.
Which means the three other votes must come from the four incumbents seeking re-election — District 1 councilman Aaron Jenkins, District 2 councilwoman Sue Lancaster, District 3 councilman John Wright and District 6 councilwoman Cleonne Drake.
Hashmi enjoyed the support of Jenkins, Lancaster, Wright and usually Drake throughout the past two years.
At Thursday night’s candidate forum, all four spoke of the accomplishments of the past two years:
The four incumbents are being challenged by former councilman Joe McCarthy in District 1, Kelly Collins in District 2, former councilman Benny Plata in District 3, and former councilman Edwin Pickle in District 6.
All four of the non-incumbents , in their campaign rhetoric, spoke against one or more of Hashmi projects such as:
Here is what the non-incumbents said during the candidate forum or to other questions about where they stand on the issues:
McCarthy, Collins, Plata and Pickle have endorsed an effort by a citizens group to keep Lake Crook a quiet, family-oriented lake.
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra