The New Albany’s municipal election season started off with 11 qualifying candidates the first two days, more than usual, according to Municipal Clerk Frankie Roberts.
Four years ago, there was a total of only 15 candidates for all offices. Voter turnout in 2017 was low, at about 22 percent.
Official qualifying for this year’s city races began Monday, Jan. 4, and ends only one month later at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5.
Early qualifying candidates
As of late Thursday, Jan. 7, the city had three candidates for mayor; none for police chief; two for Ward One alderman; two for Ward Two alderman; none yet for Ward Three alderman; two for Ward Four alderman and two for alderman-at-large.
Incumbent Mayor Tim Kent, running as a Republican rather than as a Democrat as he has formerly, is being challenged by Republican Chuck Garrett and Democrat James Dean.
No one had qualified for chief of police Thursday, Jan 7, but incumbent Chris Robertson was expected to qualify after being released from coronavirus quarantine.
Alderman-at-large incumbent Keith Conlee, completing his first term, is being challenged by J. Lynn West. Conlee is running as a Republican, and West as an Independent.
So far, Judith Benjamin (Benjie) Foley and Ashley Kidd are running for the Ward One alderman seat, both as Republicans. Ward One incumbent Amy Livingstone said she is not seeking re-election after one term.
Long-time Ward Two incumbent Johnny Anderson announced his retirement two weeks ago. Drew Horn is running for the Ward Two seat as a Republican. Tim Johnson is running as a Democrat.
Veteran Ward Three incumbent Kevin Dale White had not yet qualified for the Democratic primary, but was expected to do so.
Ward Four incumbent Will Tucker, a Republican, is being challenged by Ronnie Parker, also a Republican.
Primary, runoff and general election dates
The party primary elections will be April 6. Tentative plans are to hold voting at the recently renovated community center on Wilson Street.
Only one of the Republican candidates currently qualified for each of the races for Ward One alderman, Ward Four alderman and Mayor will emerge from the primary as nominees for the general election. The Democratic candidates for Mayor and Ward Two Alderman will move on to the general election, since they are unchallenged in their party.
Unless more candidates qualify, it appears at this time that there may be no need for a primary runoff April 27.
Lynn West, the Independent candidate for alderman-at-large, will not appear on the ballot until the June 8 general election.
All Mississippi municipalities will hold elections during 2017.MS politics, municipal election, New Albany MS, Northeast Mississippi news, qualifiers