Patrick Cannon was not an overnight success when we won 53% of the vote back in November to become Charlotte's new mayor.
His stunning rise actually happened 20 years earlier in 1993. He was just 26 years old, two years out of North Carolina A&T, when he was elected to Charlotte City Council.
His political star rose quickly. He would represent the city's District Three until 2001. He then a made a political calculation to face voters from the entire city. He wanted to win a city-wide race. He sought an at-large seat to council. Cannon would win it and become Mayor Pro Tem.
Publicly he was seen a straight shooter and many saw him as a potential successor to long-time Mayor, now Governor Pat McCrory. But then came the unexpected. In 2005, he removed himself from the political spotlight. He said he wanted to focus on his family.
Court records offered another likely explanation. Between 2004 and 2008 the IRS came calling. Cannon was hit with several federal tax liens connected to his business. Each one was in the tens of thousands of dollars. Those liens were eventually cleared up and a political comeback began shortly thereafter.
He reclaimed an at-large seat in 2009. He became Mayor Pro Tem and when Anthony Foxx stepped down as mayor last summer to join the Obama Administration, Cannon was ready to step into the void. What he didn't know and neither did we, until this week, the FBI had already been watching his every move.
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