CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- From the projects to the city's highest office and all the way to prison, former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon's rise to power ended with disgrace.
But after serving 22 months for bribery charges, could there be room for a convicted felon in Charlotte politics?
"He's always wanted to help people," said Mecklenburg County Commissioner and long-time friend, Pat Cotham.
Cannon was released from prison in September and though he kept a low profile for months, he is showing no signs of fading into the shadows. Cannon is now the host of a radio show on 105.3 FM. This past weekend, he gave political hopefuls advice about how to run for office during a forum hosted by the Black Political Caucus.
The Democrat was the youngest elected city councilman in 1993. And while Cannon didn't express any desires to run again, he did leave the door open for a political revival.
"I'm focused on just being the best dad I can be, the best husband I can be, the best son I can be, that's what's really important to me right now, anything else that may come, if it's God will we'll look at those things," Cannon said at the forum.
However, a political comeback for a ex-con wouldn't be easy.
"It would be hard to me to envision how Patrick Cannon could come back from acknowledging conviction but still saying I want to serve. I think the voters would probably say, 'no thank you,'" said Catawba College Political Science Professor Dr Michael Bitzer.
Edwin Peacock, a Republican who unsuccessfully challenged Cannon in the 2013 mayoral race and served with him on city council, says it is possible
"I know that voters would be open to it, because they did it in Washington D.C. with Mayor Marion Berry when he returned to city council," he said. "Patrick broke the public's trust by his decisions several years ago and he's paid his debt to society, so we'll let the public decide if he's electable or not."
Cotham says she believes Cannon has learned from his mistakes and that he could inspire others.
"Many parts of our community are desperately needing hope and I think he can provide that," she said. "It depends on what he's running for, but I think he could be in public office again."
Cannon isn't eligible to run for office until 2019.
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