Although Melton says he has taken an aggressive approach to crime, FBI statistics show that crime in Jackson has increased 238% since 2005.
“His administration has been dysfunctional,” Hohrn says. “He decided to ignore rules that were not to his liking. He wanted to be top cop and play cops and Robbers.”
Melton, who received 80% of the vote when elected in 2005, admits to making some mistakes, but believes he has made a significant difference in the development of Jackson’s downtown by drawing $3 billion worth of development to the city in under 4 years. “I made sure that [construction] started on time and came in under budget,” he says.
Some 38% of likely voters did not know who they preferred to be mayor, but 66% of Jackson residents believe that the city has gotten off on a wrong track, according to separate polls conducted by the Clarion-Ledger over the weekend. Crisler was the favorite with 15.5% of voters, followed by Johnson (14.4%), Melton (11 %) and Horhn (7%).
Hohrn, who has 29 years of combined experience in state government and in the legislature, says that former Mayor Harvey Johnson is just as much to blame for the neglect experienced by the city as anyone else. “It was his lack of leadership and inability to pull the trigger on things that really made the electorate turn their backs on him four years ago.”
A runoff will be held May 19 if one candidate does not receive 50% of the vote. Afterward, the winner will face one Republican and one Independent in the general election on June 2
Jackson, Mississippi Mayoral Candidates
Mayor Frank Melton
Former Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr.
Marshand Crisler, 6th ward city councilman
State Sen. John Horhn
Eddie Fair, Hinds County tax collector
Robert Johnson, former Jackson police chief
Dorothy “Dot” Benford
Brenda R. Scott, president of the Mississippi Alliance of State Employees
John H. Jones Jr., a telecommunications business owner
Charlotte Reeves, Jackson business owner
Rick Whitlow, a former sports anchor for WAPT and WJTV
Robert Amos, small business owner and adjunct professor for Jackson State University
David Archie, an independent and community activist and radio talk show host