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A Rocky Hill resident today said he plans to turn the 7th District state Senate race into a three way contest in August.

Mike Alford, who drives a tour bus for entertainers, today had a friend pick him up a nominating petition to challenge incumbent Stacey Campfield and Richard Briggs in the Republican primary.

He has until noon tomorrow to return the petition and secure 25 signatures from residents who live in the district and who are registered to vote.

Alford said he planned to mount a serious campaign but acknowledged that "a mutual friend of his" and Campfield actually picked up the petition for him.

He said he told the senator that he plans to run.

"I want to throw my name out there on the ballot as an option," Alford said.

He added: "My biggest issue right now is two of them: I disapprove of Stacey's campaign to take public notices away from the newspapers. The other issue . . . is that I don't think the hospital being planned in the backyard of the West Hills neighborhood should be put there."

Alford unsuccessfully ran for a County Commission seat in 2006 and sought a board position in 2008 when officials were trying to appoint new members in the wake of the Black Wednesday controversy. He said at the time he was against red light cameras and the wheel tax.

Campfield, a former state representative, won a special election in 2010 to replace Tim Burchett when he took over as Knox County mayor.

When asked about the potential for another opponent, Campfield said "it's a free county, so everyone who wants to run can."

Briggs, a heart surgeon, a retired combat veteran, and Knox County Commissioner, said his campaign anticipated that someone else would get into the race, but declined comment further.

The winner of the Republican primary will take on Cheri Siler, a Democrat, in the November general election.

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