Metro-East News

Two mayoral candidates drop out, citing ‘political machine’ and state of East St. Louis

There will be no primary election in East St. Louis because two of the six candidates have dropped out of the race, leaving four left on the ballot in the April 2 election. A primary would have eliminated two candidates from the ballot.

Courtney Hoffman submitted his formal withdrawal Dec. 28, according to Kandrise Mosby, executive director of the East St. Louis Election Board.

Cedric Taylor Jr. withdrew his name on Nov. 27.

Hoffman said Tuesday he dropped out to support Robert Eastern III, another candidate in the race who “has piqued (his) interest.” He also said the political machine that exists in East St. Louis made it virtually impossible for him to have a fighting chance.

“I think it’s important that people show support to candidates or someone who shows similar beliefs. I think we should call them and encourage them,” Hoffman said. “Eastern is the best pro business candidate out of the three choices.”

Taylor told the BND he withdrew because the city is $5.5 million in debt with there is no economic plan, in addition to being three years behind fiscal audits and considering laying off police officers and firefighters this summer.

“No developer is going to come into the community with the city in a fiscal crisis. They have no money. There are no new businesses coming to town, there is no money to pay for public services. It doesn’t matter who becomes the mayor, they’ll have to deal with these issues. There is no economic plan for this community. I withdrew because the city is too far in the hole,” Taylor said.

Who are the candidates still running?

Candidates in the East St. Louis mayoral race now include: incumbent Emeka Jackson-Hicks, Carl Officer, Eastern and Darnell Thompson.

Officer said he’s running for mayor because he disagrees will all the candidates on how the city ought to be run. He added voters can expect him to “be honest, pay the city’s bills on time, not to to be controlled by politics and not to lie to people about the government.”

Thompson and Eastern could not immediately be reached for comment.

City Manager Daffney Moore said the city’s current mayor, Jackson-Hicks, inherited a budget deficit that was not properly disclosed and included an unpaid pension debt for police and fire funds.

“She immediately put a plan in place to start paying back both pension funds as well as worked to put us on the road toward financial stability. Under her tenure we will have completed six audits which will bring the city up to date with audits and establish credit worthiness,” Moore said.

Here’s who is running for other city offices

In other East St. Louis elections, long-time city clerk Doreen Hoosman is not running again. Debra Hamilton Tidwell and La Keisha Adams are running to fill that position.

Charlotte Moore, city treasurer, is running unopposed.

There are six people seeking two city council seats: incumbent Charles R. Powell lll, incumbent Roy Mosley Sr., Tommy Dancy, Simone Williams, James Ross and F.G. McGraw.

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Carolyn P. Smith has worked for the Belleville News-Democrat for 18 years and currently covers breaking news in the Metro-East. She graduated from the Journalism School at the University of Missouri at Columbia and says news is in her DNA.
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