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franklin county times

Candidates surprised by Hudnall's endorsement of Smith

By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
May 18, 2001
Former mayoral candidate Wally Hudnall's endorsement of Mayor John Robert Smith has at least temporarily dumbfounded three other mayoral hopefuls.
On Tuesday, Hudnall called a press conference on the steps of Meridian City Hall in which he pledged his full support to Smith. The endorsement came just two weeks after Hudnall was soundly defeated by Smith, who carried 68 percent of Republican Primary vote to Hudnall's 32 percent.
Democratic nominee William Hugh Johnson said he doesn't believe the endorsement will have any significant impact on the race.
At the press conference Hudnall said he was supporting Smith because "he is the only candidate qualified" to run the city in an efficient manner. Hudnall said he believed "great things" would happen in the next four years under another Smith term.
The defeated opponent not only endorsed Smith, but said he intended to campaign for him door-to-door.
Hudnall said his endorsement of Smith shouldn't have surprised the candidates, considering he is also a Republican and supported Smith in his previous two mayoral campaigns.
Independent candidate Bill McBride took the endorsement much more personal. McBride said he felt stabbed in the back after he had actually helped Hudnall prepare for his campaign.
Hudnall could not be reached Thursday night to respond to McBride's comments.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3226, or e-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.

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