HOULKA -- Mayor Jimmy Kelly -- who qualified for re-election earlier this year -- has changed his mind and will not seek a third consecutive term, he said this week.

He will complete this term of office, he said.

“I’ve pulled my papers, and I’m not running again. I’ll be 72 in June, and I’m ready to retire,” he said.

The decision means no town elections will be held in Houlka.

The only other mayoral candidate on the ballot -- David Huffman -- automatically becomes mayor. There will be no races for town aldermen, who all serve at-large, since there are only five candidates on the ballot.

Incumbents are: Kimberly Murphree, K. C. Gates, and Dustin Eaton. New applicants are: Jerry Turner and Brad Vance. Bonnie Brown and Beverly Davidson are not seeking re-election.

Mayor Kelly served a partial term as mayor after the previous two-term mayor, Josephine “Jo” Higginbotham, resigned in February, 2012.

She resigned due to poor health and to care for her husband, Billy Joe, who died of cancer the following month.

Mayor Kelly, previously an alderman but not on the board at that time, won a special election to fill the unexpired portion of Mrs. Higginbotham’s term. He then won an unopposed election to his first term of office, and was unopposed for his current term.

Mrs. Higginbotham died in 2017.

The deadline to qualify to run in this year’s municipal elections was Friday, Feb. 5, 2021.

Primary elections will be held Tuesday, April 6, with any runoffs set three weeks later on April 27. The general election will be held on Tuesday, June 8.

Those elected take office Thursday, July 1.

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