Tina C. Hobson, the widow of City Councilmember Julius Hobson, kept a promise this week and changed her voter registration from the Statehood Party, which her late husband helped to found, to that of an independent.
She immediately announced that she would probably run against the party's endorsed candidate, Hilda Mason, in the July 19 special election to fill Hobson's seat if one of her husband's last pieces of legislation was not approved by the City Council.
The legislation would permit voters to recall elected officials and initiate legislation by voter referendum. A final council vote is expected April 19.
Mrs. Hobson's split with the Statehood Party followed a meeting of the party central committee last Friday at which Mrs. Mason rather than Mrs. Hobson was chosen to fill the council vacancy until after the July 19 election and endorsed for election to the council post.
Before he died of leukemia on March 23, Hobson had told party members he wanted his wife to succeed him as at-large member of the City Council. The central committee passed over Mrs. Hobson, however, and selected Mrs. Mason, partially because Mrs. Mason had more political experience and was willing t run in the special election. Mrs. Hobson had said at the time she was interested in serving only until the election.
In announcing her registration change Tuesday, Mrs. Hobson said the party had practiced "racism in reverse" because some central committee members failed to back her on grounds that as a white person she could not win in a predominantly black city.
Black and white central committee members have denied that Mrs. Hobson was not chosen because of her race.