Mar 4, 2022 - Politics

Former mayor who served jail time for corruption to run for City Council

Photo: Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Former mayor Patrick Cannon, who spent time in prison for public corruption, is hoping to make a political comeback.

Context: Cannon filed as a candidate for Charlotte City Council at-large on Friday. The Democrat pled guilty to corruption and was convicted of taking more than $50,000 in bribes from undercover FBI agents while in public office.

  • Cannon was elected in November 2013, and resigned the following year after his arrest.
  • He had previously served on City Council.

He was released from prison in 2016, after serving half of a 44-month sentence.

  • “To date I still take responsibility for my actions then, remaining sorry for those shortcomings, and continue to ask for forgiveness of you and our community in its totality,” Cannon said in a statement texted to Axios.
  • “A chance for redemption is all I can ask for and pray that you might provide it in a fall that was taken, with the hope of getting up and starting a new beginning with your support. Can we as a community send a message to anyone that has fallen short to say, we are a city and/or a people of second chances?”

Why it matters: Cannon is the only mayor in Charlotte’s history jailed for corruption charges.

  • Rumors of his candidacy have been swirling for months.

Between the lines: The at-large council race will be a crowded field featuring familiar faces.

  • On the Democrat side, current at-large representatives Dimple Ajmera and Braxton Winston have filed for re-election, current District 1 representative Larken Egleston is running at-large, and former council members LaWana Mayfield and James “Smuggie” Mitchell are looking to make a comeback, according to filing records.
  • The following Republicans have filed: Kyle Luebke, David Merrill, Charlie Mulligan, Carrie Olinski and David Michael Rice.

What they’re saying: Cannon’s history will undoubtedly be a major roadblock in his campaign.

Still, Corine Mack, president of the NAACP Charlotte-Mecklenburg branch, told me late last year that Cannon had discussed a potential run with her.

  • She praised his focus on equity when he was mayor. Before that, he helped establish the Citizen Review Board, which reviews complaints from citizens about local police.
  • “He’s done his time, he’s been held accountable,” she said. “He lost a lot because of his actions. It’s time to move on.”

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