The young man who came to do my annual home heating inspection shook his head and repeated somewhat sheepishly, “I’m not really into politics.” But a few minutes later, the Fall River resident opened up about the controversy surrounding the federally indicted Jasiel Correia, who still claims the title of mayor even after the city council voted to oust him from that position.

In our brief conversation, I got a window into why the embattled Correia enjoys so much local support — support that helped secure his second-place finish in the recent preliminary election. I didn’t ask my heating technician if he was one of the approximately 2,700 people who voted for Correia, but he told me he knew him to be a “good guy.” And he went on to say he was suspicious of the federal charge alleging Correia misused more than $200,000 on the SnoOwl app he created. “He’s had that app a long time,” he pointed out, and “nothing has ever come up before” — stressing again, “I’m not really into politics.”

Many people like me have been open-mouthed by Correia’s seemingly solid base in the wake of two federal indictments. I mean, why would anybody want to vote for the guy who, already indicted for the aforementioned alleged app scam, was then arrested again by the feds? This time for allegedly brazenly running a pay-to-play scheme targeted at marijuana vendors seeking community host approval.

Now I do know that charisma, the signature of bad boys, goes a long way. How else to explain the appeal of former Lawrence Mayor Willie Lantigua, who survived federal corruption charges and a recall election before voters decided current Mayor Daniel Rivera was a better bet. Certainly, likability motivated voters in giving Correia a big pass, but I’ve been surprised that, weirdly, his age and inexperience also played a big role in mitigating his legal troubles. Much has been made of the older ladies willing to overlook “his mistakes.” But my heating tech also allowed that he was “about the same age” as the 27-year-old, and wasn’t the young politico “still learning?”

Mayor Jaisel Correia’s possible frauds brought to mind the charming populist Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards. Now 91, the four-term governor accomplished a lot for his state while a laundry list of decades-old corruption charges hung over him. One Thanksgiving holiday, I asked my relatives why given his record, they kept voting for him. My cousin Drexel explained while laughing, “We like our crooks honest.”

Mayor Correia’s preliminary election victory may be short-lived. He ignored the Fall River City Council vote to remove him from office and now the council has filed an injunction to force him out. But I worry that his ongoing backing from voters means that many have accepted that corruption, or the potential for it, is no longer a deal-breaker. Ironic, in this moment, as lawmakers call for the impeachment of President Trump for an alleged international quid pro quo is somewhat similar to Correia’s circumstances. This I know: The only thing that conquers the “absolute power that corrupts absolutely” is the power of the people. I hope the people care enough to take it back.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated how many votes Correia received in the preliminary election. He received 2,777 votes.