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Weeden joins alderman at large race as qualifying ends

By Jebb Johnston

A last-minute qualifier on Friday makes a three-man race for alderman at large in Corinth and will require a Republican primary.

Attorney Ken Weeden was the only person to submit papers on the final day of the qualifying window. He will seek the at-large seat, which is voted on city-wide, as a Republican.

The at-large incumbent, Mike Hopkins, has switched his party affiliation to Republican as he seeks a fourth term, setting up a contest with Weeden as the only race in the Republican primary on Aug. 7. The winner of the Republican primary will then face Jacob Smith, who qualified as a Libertarian candidate a week earlier, in the municipal general election.

The only other contested race is in ward 1, with incumbent Andrew "Bubba" Labas (R) opposed by Chris Wilson, a certified registered nurse anesthetist at Magnolia Regional Health Center who is running as an independent. Both will advance to the Oct. 9 general election.

Unopposed for reelection are Tommy Irwin, mayor; Ben Albarracin, ward 2; Chip Wood, ward 3; J.C. Hill, ward 4; Michael McFall, ward 5; and Ralph Dance, police chief.

It is the lightest slate of candidates in recent memory and is believed to be the first that will include a local Libertarian candidate, city or county. There was some doubt, initially, that a party executive committee exists to validate his candidacy.

"Their state chairman sent me their local executive party's names," said City Clerk Vickie Roach. "They contend, even though the county was unaware of it, that there is a local executive committee for Libertarians. They will certify the candidate."

Absentee ballots for the alderman at large Republican primary will be available beginning June 22.