On Fall River’s South Main Street, amid a row of dark store fronts, a Dunkin’s and a cocktail lounge, Dorothy Francis helped her daughter close down her pie shop, folding boxes and discussing the upcoming mayoral election in November.

Francis lives and votes in the city, which has been mired in political scandal for over a year.

“It's very depressing, really depressing, because you don't know what's going to happen,” Francis said.

Francis voted for incumbent Mayor Jasiel Correia when he first ran for the seat in 2015, back when the then-23 year-old electrified Fall River as a brash young mayor with plans to transform his city.

“Then all these things started happening, and it's very depressing to see a person that I thought might be very good for this town,” Francis said. “I am very disappointed in him.”

In 2018, Correia was charged with defrauding investors in SnoOwl, an app he had developed. Then came a divisive special election in which Correia was recalled, only to be re-elected mayor on the same night. In September, he was arrested again, this time on charges he tried to shake down would-be marijuana businesses. Throughout it all, Correia has remained defiant, dismissing the charges as politically motivated.

"I have continued to maintain my innocence,” Correia told reporters at a gathering of his supporters in September. “These things are totally made up, they're false, there's no proof, there's no evidence."

Back on South Main Street, life-long resident Marcelle Riley says he's had enough.

"I love the city, I would never move from it, but it's just sad that this is happening,” he said.

Riley says he's tired of reading and hearing about political dysfunction in his hometown.

"It's just sad that this is playing out in the headlines, and on the news,” he said, “because that's all you hear about our good city."

He says Fall River deserves better than being known as the home of a notorious ax murdererand a twice-indicted mayor.

"It's not good, it's not good for the city at all,” Riley said. “We should be known for something more than Lizzie Borden and a rogue mayor taking kickbacks."

Shannon Jenkins is a professor at UMass Dartmouth who closely follows politics in Fall River. In some respects, she says this is nothing new for Fall River residents.

"I think it's fair to say that there's a certain tolerance for corruption in Massachusetts politics,” Jenkins said in a phone interview.

But Jenkins says even the most jaded voters are feeling what she calls "craziness fatigue,” partly because of the brazenness of Correia's alleged schemes, like trying to extort pot business while under indictment.

"I think most of the people who engage in this sort of stuff are harder to prove,” she said. “They're at least a little bit smarter about it, right?"

Given Correia's defiance, his announcementearlier this month that he would suspend his re-election campaign and take a leave of absence from office surprised many. But in September, leaked audio from a private meeting with supporters at Lepage’s Seafood restaurant revealed Correia's possible backup plan.

"Don’t tell anyone about this, what I'm about to tell you,” Correia said in the audio, published by the Fall River Herald News.

Correia hinted at a plan to split up the vote and insert a surrogate or stalking horse candidate in his place.

"If I slip away, in the background, while someone else takes on the fight, and we're still in the race, we give ourselves the best shot at winning," Correia said.

Earlier this month, shortly after Correia suspended his campaign, a member of his administration, Town Administrator Cathy Ann Viveiros, announced she was running as a write-in-candidate. Viveiros denies accusations that she's a proxy for Correia.

"I am an independent individual, and the mayor has made it very clear that he is no longer a candidate on that ballot,” Viveiros told reporters at a press conference.

Still, Jenkins at UMass-Dartmouth says Correia's main opponent, school board member Paul Coogan, is likely to win the election. The real mystery, she says, is what happens afterwards.

"The question is, what happens to Correia?” Jenkins said. “Does he get convicted? If he does, then he goes away for awhile, but if he doesn't, does he come back? Does he run again?"

In his departure speech last week, Correia vowed to return someday, and “lead this city on the rise, once again in the future."

Correia's name remains on the November ballot.