Five seek mayor's job
By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
March 3, 2001
With the last-minute addition of William Hugh Johnson late Friday afternoon, five candidates will duke it out for mayor of Meridian in the upcoming municipal election.
Two Independents, one Republican and one Democrat are challenging incumbent Republican John Robert Smith.
Businessman Wally Hudnall, local activists Bill McBride, William Hugh Johnson and Charlie Haynes have all turned paperwork into City Hall, indicating they intend to run for office.
Smith and Hudnall will square off in the Republican primary May 1. Haynes and McBride qualified as Independents, although Haynes has yet to announce his candidacy formally. Johnson is the sole Democrat.
Three incumbent councilmen will also face opposition this year.
Ward 4 Councilman Jesse E. Palmer Sr., a Democrat, will face John Nelson Jr., an Independent. Nelson and Palmer previously squared off against each other four years ago.
Ward 3 Councilman Barbara Henson, a Republican, will be campaigning against Independent qualifier Lee Fryery.
Ward 5 Councilman Bobby Smith, a Republican, will face an Independent qualifier in Todd Vallot.
Ward 1 Councilman Dr. George Thomas and Ward 2 Councilman Mary Perry are both running unopposed.
Although all candidates turned in the initial papers in time to qualify for the March 2 deadline, city officials say technically Independents aren't qualified until the signatures on their qualifying petitions are verified.
Vallot's paperwork was turned in shortly before the qualifying deadline and has yet to be checked by city employees.
Medellin said even though party candidates have turned in papers to run, they still have to be certified by their parties before their names are placed on the ballot. The general election is June 5.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at email@example.com.