Early voting hits 298 for Paris City Council race, 115 for PJC regent contests

voting boothThe first week of Early Voting for the Paris City Council and Paris Junior College regent elections is now in the rear view mirror — leaving only Monday and Tuesday, leading up to Election Day next Saturday.

Incumbents are seeking re-election in all four City Council districts — 1, 2, 3 and 6 — and in two PJC regent districts — 4 and 7. All have opponents.

In the city election, 58 more people voted early on Friday, increasing the turnout to 298 for the five days of Early Voting.

The trend continues: District 6 has more than half the total, followed by District 3 with about 20 percent, District 1 with about 15 percent, and District 2 with about 10 percent.

Early voting continues daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday at the County Services Building (241 Lamar Ave.)

On Election Day, May 10, 2014, voting will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • In City Council District 1 (incumbent Aaron Jenkins vs. former councilman Joe McCarthy), 14 people voted on Monday, 10 on Tuesday, 8 on Wednesday, 5 on Thursday and 8 on Friday for a 5-day total of 45 (15.1 percent of the total).
  • In City Council District 2 (incumbent Sue Lancaster vs. Kelly Collins), 17 people voted on Monday, 2 on Tuesday, 6 on Wednesday, 4 on Thursday and 3 on Friday for a 5-day total of 32 (10.7 percent of the total).
  • In District 3 (incumbent John Wright vs. former councilman Benny Plata), 9 people voted on Monday, 9 on Tuesday, 13 people on Wednesday, 15 on Thursday and 14 on Friday for a 5-day total of 60 (20.1 percent of the total).
  • In District 6 (incumbent councilwoman Cleonne Drake vs. former councilman Edwin Pickle), 36 people voted on Monday, 31 on Tuesday, 32 on Wednesday, 29 on Thursday and 33 on Friday for a 5-day total of 161 (54.0 percent of the total).

The individual races are important not only in their own right but in regard to how the outcomes could affect the selection of a mayor. Incumbents in the middle of their two-year terms are Dr. Richard Grossnickle of District 4, Matt Frierson of District 5 and Dr. AJ Hashmi of District 7.

One of the first orders of business at the Paris City Council meeting of Monday, May 19, after canvassing of the May 10 vote, will be selection by the new council of the mayor for 2014-2015.

Hashmi needs four votes to reign over the council for a fourth straight year. Jenkins, Lancaster, Wright and Drake have consistently voted with Hashmi, and all four were coached by Hashmi’s former campaign manager, Bill Strathern, in joint practice sessions leading up to a council candidate forum on June 24, sponsored by the Association of Lamar County Republicans.

If at least three of the incumbents win re-election, Hashmi’s hopes for being re-elected mayor can be considered a near-certainty. If two or more of the incumbents lose, Hashmi no longer has a lock on being selected mayor again nine days after the election.

In the Paris Junior College regents election, 23 votes were cast in Early Voting on Friday, raising the total after five days to 115, keeping the average of 23 a day for the two PJC regent elections involved.

In the Place 4 race between incumbent Daigone Garner and challenger Charles A. Lynch, 17 votes were cast on Monday, 10 on Tuesday, 9 on Wednesday, 7 on Thursday and 14 on Friday for a 5-day total of 57 (49.6 percent of the total).In the Place 7 race among incumbent Frankie Norwood, Charles W. Gilbert and Jim Bell, 15 votes were cast on Monday, 15 on Tuesday, 6 on Wednesday, 13 on Thursday and 9 on Friday for a 5-day total of 58 (50.4 percent of the total).

Here is the recap for Early Voting in the Paris City Council and Paris Junior College regent elections:

Recap EV 05022014

By Charles Richards, eParisExtra

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Charles Richards Charles Richards moved to Paris in 2004 after retiring from a 40-year career in journalism – the last 26 years as a news writer and sports writer with The Associated Press in Dallas and Washington, D.C. In mid-2004, The Paris News coaxed him out of retirement, and he began covering the police, court and regional beat for The Paris News. Then in early 2005, he was switched to coverage of a sharply divided Paris City Council. He was appointed by the City Council in 2006 to the 12-member City Charter Review Commission, which extensively rewrote the outmoded document. His writing awards include two first-place awards in statewide competition for feature writing. The most recent was his 2005 story on a Paris doctor’s startling use of leeches in a successful attempt to re-attach a man’s severed ear. Over his career, Richards’ interview subjects include Alabama Gov. George Wallace, President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush, David Koresh, Arnold Palmer, Muhammad Ali and numerous other political and sports figures. He is an alumnus of Texas Tech, where he was editor of the school newspaper. He lives in Paris with his wife, Barbara, who is retired after 30 years as a teacher and high school counselor.