Community leaders want former Charlotte mayor to make political comeback

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Some community and former city leaders are encouraging former Democratic Mayor Patrick Cannon to run for political office again.

The former mayor resigned in 2014 and pleaded guilty to accepting tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from undercover FBI agents posing as businessmen.

Cannon served nearly two years in federal prison and was released in 2016. According to the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections, Cannon reregistered to vote in February and is eligible to run for political office.

Corine Mack, who is the local NAACP president and a fundraiser for the North Carolina Black Leadership Caucus, has been encouraging Cannon to run for mayor.

"His first 100 days were better than what we got in the last four years, so why not give him another chance," Mack said. "He was the man who got the job done."

Mack said she is frustrated over the city's pursuit of the Republican National Convention, the loss of the CIAA tournament and the increased violence and gentrification in Charlotte. She said she forgives Cannon and thinks most voters will, too.

"Yes, he made a mistake, but we all have. He paid for his mistake," Mack said. "He went to jail, got out of jail and (is) trying to live his life. Give him an opportunity. Give him a second chance because God gives us many chances."

Longtime friend and former Mayor Pro Tem Lynn Wheeler has been encouraging Cannon to run for a City Council at large seat. The two served on the council for 10 years together.

"There is a lack of leadership on Charlotte City Council and we need to change it up or this city is going down the tubes," Wheeler said. "He is thoughtful and if he is elected at large, he will represent all people."

Wheeler said Cannon is not saying yes or no to a potential run, and she believes he will run if people encourage him to do so. Wheeler said a Cannon candidacy would be underestimated.

"He served his time. He will never do that again," she said.

Sarah Reidy-Jones, Vice Chair of the Mecklenburg County GOP, said a Patrick Cannon run would be "the best recruiting tool" for the Meck GOP.

"The Meck GOP would happily welcome Patrick Cannon back on the ballot for the city of Charlotte as he will make it easier for voters to choose a clear contrast of divisive agitators with bright up-and-coming leaders like Brandon Pierce," Reidy-Jones said. "While the Democratic Party focused on tired and failed leadership, we will be working on providing fresh solutions and better balance to our city chambers."

According to the most recent campaign filings, Cannon has more than $19,000 on hand. He did not respond to requests for comment.

A spokesperson for Mayor Vi Lyles said Lyles had no comment.

Filing for the Charlotte mayor and City Council seats opens in July.

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