Jackson’s Mayoral Candidates Remaining Hours

Hundreds of thousands dollars have been raised and spent. And now months of campaigning have whittled down to the final hours of Jackson’s mayoral election and both front runners, Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. and opponent Frank Melton, are still hard at work.

A mayor’s job doubles when he runs for re-election.

Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. must squeeze campaigning into his daily obligations, like representing the city one day before the election at Smith-Wills Stadium, where the team announced its lease extension.

It’s nothing new for Johnson who told reporters Monday afternoon that he never takes vacation or sick days.

Mayor Johnson said, “We’ve been able to talk to people directly. This morning I worked an intersection at a subdivision and talked to a couple of hundred people it seems like about the election. Got good feed back. Good commitments to vote for me so I feel very good right along in here.”

On the other hand, running for political office is new to former T.V. executive and mayoral candidate Frank Melton.

Melton says since heading the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, he’s become accustomed to getting only a couple of hours of sleep nightly.

Meeting people and making speeches is also second nature, but he says he’s learned that the political process is very distasteful.

Mayoral candidate Frank Melton said, “I’ve never gone through anything like this before in my life, and I had to sit on the curb in the inner city and remind myself why I’m doing this, because it should be about helping people and it seems to be about a bunch of peripheral issues that have nothing to do with what’s best for Jackson and helping the citizens.”

Melton spent much of the day before the election catering to future voters, by emptying the pool at the Farish Street Y.M.C.A. in preparation for its opening.

Johnson, an urban planner making his fourth bid for the mayor’s office, says voters should look at how far the city has come.

The Democratic incumbent said, “Basically people are going to have to believe that whoever they vote for will be effective in leading the city forward…We’re gonna try to convince voters that given the record over the last eight years I’m the person to continue the progress.”

But Melton disagrees with the course the city has taken.

The Democratic challenger said, “I’m gonna do what the people need done, make sure we get crime under control, make sure our kids are back in school and make sure we do the right thing for all 184,000 Jacksonians.”

Tuesday morning Johnson will vote at Callaway High School, handle city business, campaign and wait out the results at his headquarters.

Melton says after an early morning television interview, he will vote at McLeod Elementary School, return to the “Y” to finish cleaning out the pool, then await the decision of the voters at his campaign headquarters.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

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