The deadline to qualify to run in the May 12 special election to fill the First Congressional Seat passed Friday afternoon with one potential candidate dropping out and one being added at the last minute.

Columbus businessman Danny Bedwell did not get the 1,000 petition signatures needed to qualify, blaming the lack on himself.

The late entry was Pontotoc attorney Howard Zinn Jr., who has been involved in a variety of politically-related posts.

The election is to fill the term of Cong. Alan Nunnelee, who died from cancer Feb. 6.

As of Monday afternoon, absentee ballots had not been approved and provided to Union County but they may be ready later in the week.

Because of the relative nearness of the special election, the deadline to register to vote will be Saturday, April 11.

Circuit clerks’ offices will be open from 8 a.m. until noon Saturday, May 2, and Saturday, May 9, for the convenience of absentee voters. May 9 will be the last day one can cast an absentee ballot in person and mailed-in ballots must be received by 5 p.m. Monday, May 11.

If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote May 12, the two with the most votes will compete in a run-off June 2. Because this is a special election and not a political-party-held vote, candidates will be considered non-partisan.

Those who have officially qualified as candidates this past week include Columbus businessman Boyce Adams; Columbus businessman Sam Adcock; state Sen. Nancy Collins, R-Tupelo; Tupelo dentist Ed Holliday; Pontotoc native and Memphis emergency room physician Starner Jones; District Attorney Trent Kelly of Saltillo; Itawamba County prosecuting attorney Chip Mills of Fulton; Tupelo attorney Greg Pirkle; Eupora attorney Henry Ross; Tishomingo County attorney Daniel Sparks; Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert; Oxford attorney Quentin Whitwell; and Pontotoc attorney Howard Zinn Jr.


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