Early voting hits 298 for Paris City Council race, 115 for PJC regent contests
The 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.
Here is the recap for Early Voting in the Paris City Council and Paris Junior College regent elections:
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra