Circuit Judge Judy Vance has overruled a motion filed in Adair Circuit Court and newly elected Curtis Hardwick will take office as Columbia’s mayor on Jan. 1.
Ben Arnold, a write-in candidate for mayor in the November election, filed the motion in an effort to stop Hardwick from taking office until a lawsuit can be settled.
Judge Vance filed the ruling Tuesday, stating that Arnold failed to show where injury would occur or how his rights would be impaired should Hardwick take office.
“In order to grant the injunctive relief requested by the Plaintiff, the Court must find that the Plaintiff’s rights will suffer immediate and irreparable injury pending a trial on the merits,” Vance wrote. “An injunction must issue only where absolutely necessary to preserve a party’s rights pending the trial.”
The suit, filed by Arnold on Dec. 1, will continue. Arnold is asking the court to throw out the mayor’s race so a new election can be held because of numerous irregularities during the Nov. 4 election. Among other issues, several city residents were allowed to vote in county races but not city races.
Hardwick will now officially take office Jan. 1 and is scheduled to be part of a ceremonial swearing-in for all local newly elected officials on Sunday, Jan. 4 at 2 p.m. at the Judicial Center. The public is invited to attend.