Orange Mayor Mims Hackett did not file petitions today to run for another term as mayor, according to the city clerk's office.
Awaiting trial on federal corruption charges brought against him last year, Hackett gave up his 27th district Assembly seat. But he saidthat he would run for mayor again.
But the deadline for filing petitions came and went todayand the 12-year mayor did not file, the clerk said.
Those who did file to run for mayor included At-Large Councilman Donald Page, Councilwoman Tency Eason, West Orange Patrolman Eldridge Hawkins, Jr., activist Betty Brown, lifelong resident Dwight Holmes and Zoning Board Chairwoman Janice Morrell.
"It was obvious," Page campaign manager Michael Vieira said of Hackett's decision not to run. "At a so-called fundraiser he hosted last month, he literally turned it into a legal defense drive. We weren't surprised at all."
Said Hawkins following the news, "Ibelieve thatMayor Hackettmade the right decision for the City of Orange in not running for re-election, andmy prayes go outto his family during these difficult times.
"Now the citizens of Orange have the opportunity to move forward with new leadership… and vote for me, the only candidate who can truly unify the City of Orange."
Like Page, longtime Hackett antagonist Councilman Ed Marable, Jr., was unsuprised by today's news.
"Inever found out he wasn't running,I just surmised it was part of a larger legal strategy," said Marable, an attorney."He was doing no campaigning, he had no literature out there,It allwas just becoming overwhelming. He usedthe idea he was runningas a tool to keep people off his back."