Tuesday, May 30, 2006

TOP STORY >> Lonoke County JPs lose amid a Republican feud

Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: Defeated Lonoke County JP Gina Burton accuses top Republican Randy Minton of a vendetta against her and some other party members, and she may ask for a recount.

Whether or not Cabot Republicans were punishing brethren on the Lonoke County Quorum Court who occasionally strayed from the party line, candidates endorsed by the ultraconservative Repub-lican Assembly prevailed in three close races in last week’s primary.

One incumbent who lost, Dist. 12 JP Gina Burton, said late Tuesday afternoon that she may ask for a recount in her six-vote loss to newcomer Casey VanBuskirk and said, “I think the Republican Assembly made the difference.

“It is not about county government, it’s about a personal vendetta—getting even. Maybe this is the reason Mr. (Randy) Minton has lost some elections,” said Burton. “I’ve tried to be discreet and professional, but it is a personal vendetta (against) Marty (Stumbaugh) and me and Patrick Hutton.

“Unfortunately, Randy was not in this alone,” she said.

Burton lost to VanBuskirk, 115-109; JP Larry Odom turned back Hutton, 171 to 156, and first-timer Mark Edward beat Stumbaugh, 151-125.

Unless Burton wins a re-count, VanBuskirk will face Democrat Patty Knox for the District 12 seat in November.
The Lonoke County Election Commission met and adjourned Tuesday without certifying the results of the election and is slated to reconvene for that purpose Thursday morning, according to Larry Clarke, the Republican commissioner.
A week after the primary, Clarke is not yet ready to breathe a sigh of relief. “I’m not going to be glad until Thursday morning,” he said.

Meanwhile, early voting for the June 13 primary has begun at the Lonoke County Courthouse. The only local races are the Democratic runoff for Lonoke mayor between Jim Parks and Wayne McGee and the runoff for Lonoke Township constable between Steve Davenport and George C. Baily.

A number of other Republican incumbents on the quorum court were unchallenged in the primary, but the Republican Assembly suffered one major defeat when Eddie Joe Williams beat Bill “Pete” Pedersen nearly 2-to-1 to represent the Republicans in the Cabot mayor’s race in November. Williams will face three independent candidates.

In other contested JP Republican primary races, Dist. 2 incumbent Jannette Minton (Randy Minton’s wife) beat Vincent Ables, 97-19, and will face former JP Larry Ridgeway, a Democrat, in November.

In Democratic JP primaries, Roger Lynch (375 votes) avoided a runoff in a three-way race, beating Nita Colclasure (199 votes) and Fred Ibbotson (102 votes) for the District 8 Quorum Court seat.

Kyle Lackie got just enough votes to avoid a runoff for the District 10 seat. Lackie (466 votes) beat Virgil Turner (287 votes) and incumbent Norman Walker (158 votes.)

Neither Lynch nor Lackie has opposition in November.

In District 6, incumbent Alexis Malham (R) will face Harry Roderick (I) and Chris Skinner (D) in November.

Unchallenged in the primary or in November are Jodie Grisham Troutman (D), District 1; Donna Pedersen (R), District 4; Lynn Weeks Clarke (R), District 5; Robert Sonny Moery (D), District 9, and Mike Dolan (D) District 11.


In Lonoke County Democratic primaries for county office, Pat McCallie (2,796 votes), turned back Scotty Belford (476) and Dany Clement (1,429). McCallie, who has no competition in November, will be sworn as collector on Jan. 1.

Coroner Sherry Stracener (3,521 votes) routed her opponents Darriel Ezell (717 votes) and LeRoy Wood (384 votes.) She’ll be sworn in to a new term in January.

Also unopposed now or in November are County Judge Charlie Troutman, Circuit Clerk Deborah Oglesby, Treasurer Karol DePriest and Assessor Jerry Adams, all Democrats.

Sheriff Jim Roberson (R), who took the job from Charlie Martin (D) in 2002 and turned back a challenge from Martin in 2004 will face him for the third time in November, each man having won their primary.

Republican Cassandra Pitts will face Democrat Dawn Porterfield in a run for the county clerk’s office, from which Prudie Perceful is retiring.

Republican Surveyor Samuel E. Smith faces a November challenge from William “Randy” Gipson.