Wednesday, May 19, 2010

TOP STORY > >Incumbents win in Lonoke County

Lonoke County voters danced with the ones that brought them Tuesday, giving all justice of the peace incumbents a decisive nod over their challengers in five primaries. In all but one case, those winners will run unopposed in November.

The mood carried over to other offices as well, with no incumbents being cast out in the primary season.

But one Lonoke alderman, Todd Wheat, tied Danny Whitehurst, each with 33 votes.

A recount is certain.

About 300 provisional ballots have yet to be counted. If it remains unchanged, they will meet again June 8 in the primary runoff election.

In the other contested Lonoke alderman race, incumbent Ray-mond Louis Hatton got 60 percent of the vote to defeat his challenger, Norman Walker Sr.

Former three-term Lonoke County Sheriff Charlie Martin defeated Steve Rich 2,440 to 2,312 in the Democratic primary. In November, he will face Sheriff Jim Roberson for the third time.

In Republican primaries, Janette Minton held off challenger Gage B. Gilliam with nearly 63 percent of the vote to retain her JP Dist. 2 seat. Like nearly all other JP primaries, there is no November challenger, making the primary winner the defacto winner.
Incumbent Larry A. Odom beat challenger Warren D. Leill with 59 percent of the votes to hold onto his JP Dist. 3 seat.

In JP Dist. 6, Alexis Malham, the incumbent, got nearly 59 percent of the vote to hold off her opponent, Trent Eilts.

In JP Dist. 13, incumbent Mark Edwards beat a former JP, Kenny Ridgeway, with nearly 68 percent of the votes.

In the Republican JP Dist. 1 primary, Joe Farrer beat former JP Larry Ridgeway with 52 percent of the votes. Farrer will face Democratic incumbent Jodie Grisham Troutman and independent Jimmy Hall in November.

In the only Democratic JP primary race, incumbent Roger Dale Lynch held off former JP Richard Kyzer, garnering 62 percent of the vote. Lynch will be unopposed in November.

Lynch, who retained his JP seat, said his campaign and workers “touched all the bases.”
Kyzer, who lost, said he’d be back until he wins the seat.

Voters returned Assessor Jerry Adams, tainted by the double-dipping retirement controversy, to his position with nearly 60 percent of the vote against challenger Jim Bailey.

County Clerk Dawn Porterfield won her second reelection, defeating Rita F. Schmitz with nearly 70 percent of the vote. She has no Republican opposition in November.

Of the 30,337 registered voters in the county, 8,521 turned out to vote.

Martin, who has been twice defeated by Roberson, said he would attack the sheriff for being a poor administrator.

Rich said he hadn’t decided yet whether or not to ask for a recount in his loss to Martin.

State Sen. Bobby Glover, who has handled Tim Wooldrige’s effort in Lonoke County to replace retiring Rep. Marion Berry, stayed through the proceedings. In a six-man Democratic primary, Wooldridge pulled nearly 57 percent of the votes.

— John Hofheimer