At a special meeting Monday, Canton City Council members put off until March an election to fill the Ward 2 seat vacated by mayoral candidate Bill Grant.
The meeting was called to discuss the Ward 2 seat Grant vacated last week when he qualified to run for mayor. Mayor Gene Hobgood said leaving the seat open reduces representation for Ward 2 and the special election could have been set for Nov. 5, the same day voters will be voting for mayor and other council seats.
Councilman Nick Estes said if the Ward 2 seat election was held in March, Grant would have the ability to run for his old seat in the event he loses the mayor’s race. Estes also expressed concern about community interest in running for the seat.
“I think the other thing is we just had qualifying and only (Shawn) Tolan qualified (for a Ward 2 seat) and no one else showed interest,” Estes said. “So my challenge would be why would anyone else be interested less than a week later?”
Councilwoman Sandra McGrew was also against the November special election. “All of us represent all of the city. So I don’t have any qualms about the seat being open,” she said. “I like that the election could be held on a presidential primary when the polls will be full and I think that would give us more representation from our city.”
The council voted to deny the special election in a 3-2 vote. McGrew, JoEllen Wilson and Estes cast the votes in opposition.
“After speaking with many of my constituents, I was convinced that a Nov. 5 special election would be too soon to allow residents contemplating running for the open Ward 2 seat time to qualify and assemble all information necessary for a campaign,” Wilson said.
Yawn voted for the special election but says that he sees both sides, “While I see the merits of both viewpoints, I felt that since having a qualifying period for this election cycle would have not really cost us anything, we should at least give the citizens the chance to fill the vacant seat at the earliest opportunity. However, I am fine with waiting until March.”
Goodwin voted for the special election and said, “The people need to be represented every meeting. We the Council are their voice.”
On Nov. 5 election the mayor seat as well as three council seats will be up for election.