Wednesday, May 23, 2012

TOP STORY >> Batton in tight re-election battle

Leader staff writers

Longtime Jacksonville District Judge Robert Batton apparently survived a strong push by local attorney Marshall Nash on Tuesday, tentatively winning his position for another four years by just five votes.

Batton garnered 50.5 percent of the ballots, or 1,107 votes, compared to Nash’s 49.5 percent, or 1,085 votes.

In another too-close-to-call race, Lonoke County Tax Assessor Jack McNally apparently edged out Jim Bailey in the Republican primary by four votes, 2,071 to 2,067.

Another tight race in Lonoke County was between Republican Charles Evans and party mate Tate House for justice of the peace in Dist. 8. Evans clipped House by seven votes, 189 to 182.

Also in Lonoke County, the crowded Republican field for sheriff dropped to two as none of the four candidates got more than 50 percent of the vote.

Top Republican voter-getters were Austin Police Chief John Staley with 1,360 votes and accountant Jason Wilkinson with 1,216 votes. They will face each other in a runoff in three weeks for the chance to face Chief Deputy Dean White, a Democrat, who bested Steve Rich, a former deputy, by 79 votes. White received 997 votes, or 53 percent, while White received 918 votes, or 47 percent.

In Jacksonville, Justice of the Peace Bob Johnson survived a close challenge from fellow Republican James Stanley. Johnson got 575 votes, or 52 percent, while Stanley got 530 votes, or 48 percent.

In Sherwood, Republican Karilyn Brown beat back a challenge from party mate Jeff Rollins, 768 votes to 646.

In a Pulaski County Republican primary, Former Hill Township Constable Dennis Sobba of Jacksonville lost his bid to regain his position from current Constable Frederick “Rick” Scott of Maumelle. Scott received 3,969 votes, or 65 percent, compared to Sobba’s 2,100 votes, or 35 percent.

Former Lonoke County Circuit Clerk Deborah Oglesby got her job back by defeating first-term incumbent Denise Brown. Oglesby collected 2,143 votes, or 51 percent to Brown’s 2,024, or 49 percent. Oglesby, formerly a Democrat, ran as Republican this time.

Dawn Porterfield, the Democratic county clerk, will be on the ballot in November against Republican William “Larry” Clarke, who defeated Lisa Goodman, 2,535 votes to 1,481.

In the Lonoke County Quorum Court races, Republicans Brent Cannon and Toby Troutman squared off in Dist. 1 with Cannon winning, 125 to 66. Republican Barry “BJ” Weathers beat fellow Republican Larry Ridgeway in Dist. 2, by 205 votes to 143. Joshua McCann and Dr. Henry L. Lang, both Republicans, battled in the Dist. 3 race with Lang coming out on top by 13 votes, 171 to 158.

In Dist. 4, it was Republicans B.L. “Ernie” Ernst and Darrin Waymack with the vote advantage going to Waymack, 243 to 142.

In the all-Republican race for Dist. 8, Tate House lost to Charles D. Evans by seven votes. Republicans Larry Odom and Tim Yarboro were the only candidates in Dist. 13 and Odom defeated Yarboro, 207 to 156.

In Lonoke city, three city council members have competition for their seats, but only the race for Position 5 was decided Tuesday, when incumbent Efrem Z. Jones beat Lloyd Whitaker in the Democratic primary by three votes, 30 to 27.

In the race for Position 3, incumbent Pat Howell beat Bob Butler on the Democratic side, 25 votes to 20, and will face Republican Stacey Pennington Moore in November.


In White County, the county judge, Michael Lincoln, defeated challenger Bill Haynie in the Republican primary, 3,123 to 2,552.

But there will be a runoff for county clerk between Republicans Britney Sellers-Hawkins and Cheryl Evans. In that race, Evans received the most votes at 2,290, while Sellers-Hawkins received 1,947 and Randall Young received 1,161.

Mark Derrick was the winner in the race for Division 2 district judge, which includes Beebe and other small White County towns. Derrick defeated Heath Ramsey, 4,325 to 2,863.

In quorum court races, Ed Land, the Republican incumbent in Dist. 8, beat David C. Schoenberger, 474 to 151. Democrat Layne “Boss” Vaughn, a longtime member of the quorum court, regained his position from incumbent Waylon D. Heathscott, 317 to 289.