UPDATE: Paris City Council election — Jenkins, Lancaster, Plata and Pickle win

Edwin Pickle and Benny Plata won their way back onto the Paris City Council on Saturday, beating incuments Cleonne Drake and John Wright respectively.

Incumbents Aaron Jenkins and Sue Lancaster prevailed, beating Joe McCarthy and Kelly Collins respectively.

“I’m thrilled, and now it’s time to get to work,” Pickle said.

Edwin Pickle

Edwin Pickle

Pickle said the election went as he expected, in part, and somewhat surprising in other ways.

“Some of the election results, I was not surprised about, and some I was,” Pickle said. “”Ï think it will be a very interesting city council next year.”

Drake was gracious in defeat.

“It was a hard race, and I just want to thank everyone that supported me for the past two years and voted for me. I wish Edwin the best as he goes onto Council representing District 6 again,” Drake said Saturday night.

Plata said he was overwhelmed by the margin of his victory over Wright.

“That caught me by surprise, it kind of did. I didn’t think I was that far in the lead. I can’t say I’m not happy about it though, because I really am,” Plata said.

Benny Plata

Benny Plata

“I can’t put into words how much I appreciate everybody who voted for me. I want to say that I really want to serve the people. I will be real open, and anytime anyone wants to call me to talk about the issues, I prefer that,” Plata added.

Here are the final totals:

DISTRICT 1: Aaron Jenkins 109 (66.06%), Joe McCarthy 56 (33.94%)

DISTRICT 2: Sue Lancaster 47 (67.14%), Kelly Collins 23 (32.86%)

DISTRICT 3: Benny Plata 95 (66.90%), John Wright 47 (33.10%)

DISTRICT 6: Edwin Pickle 166 (53.55%), Cleonne Drake 144 (46.45%)

Pickle led Drake 132-88 in the Early Voting. Drake outpolled Pickle 56-34 on Saturday, but it wasn’t enough to make up for Pickle’s 132-88 edge in the April 28-May 6 early voting period.

In District 3, Plata beat Wright 65-27 in the early vote and 30-20 on Saturday.

In District 1, Jenkins won the early voting 46-36 and Saturday’s vote 53-13. Plus, there were 17 mail-in ballots in District 1, with Jenkins getting 10 to McCarthy’s 7.

In District 2, Lancaster had only a three-vote lead in the early voting — 20-to-17, but added a 27-6 edge on Saturday for the final 47-23 edge.

The victories of Pickle and Plata are expected to end Mayor AJ Hashmi’s 3-year run. The wins by Jenkins and Lancaster give Hashmi three votes, but it takes four to win the mayor’s job when the new council decides the issue on Monday, May 19.

By all indications, incumbent councilmen Dr. Richard Grossnickle and Matt Frierson can expect to be joined by Pickle and Plata after one of the four is nominated.

By Charles Richards, eParisExtra

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About the Author

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.