Friday, May 04, 2012

TOP STORY >> Early voting is starting Monday in area

Leader staff writer

Primary voting to narrow down the Democratic and Republican candidates and, in many cases, to determine judges for the next four years is set for May 22, but early voting starts Monday.

Judicial candidates don’t declare a party affiliation. When there is more than one candidate for a position, the one who gets the most votes in the primary will automatically get the nod as an unopposed candidate in November.

For Congress in Dist. 1, three Democrats are vying for a chance to run against Republican Rep. Rick Crawford. The Democrats are former Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington, Clark Hall and Gary Latanich.

In Lonoke County, the most crowded race is for sheriff where the incumbent, Sheriff Jim Roberson, opted not to run for re-election. Two Democrats and four Republicans are vying for the chance to move forward to the general election.

On the Democratic ticket are Steve Rich and Dean White. The Republican candidates are James Kulesa, John Staley, Steve Finch and Jason Wilkerson.

For Lonoke County circuit clerk, incumbent Denise Brown is battling it out with former clerk Deborah Oglesby. Both are Republicans. With no Democrats in the race, the highest vote getter will go into the November election unopposed.

Two Republican are also fighting it out to challenge County Clerk Dawn Porterfield, a Democrat. The Republicans are William “Larry” Clarke and Lisa Goodman.

Six of the Lonoke County justices of the peace have pairs of Republicans fighting to gain the seat without a Democratic opponent. In Dist. 1, its Brent Cannon against Toby Troutman; in Dist. 2, it’s Barry “BJ” Weathers and Larry Ridgeway; the Dist. 3 choices are Joshua McCann and incumbent Dr. Henry L. Lang; in Dist. 4, it’s B.L. “Ernie” Ernst against Darrin Waymack; in Dist. 8, Tate House will take on Charles Evans and in Dist. 13, it’s Tim Yarboro against Larry Odom.

In Jacksonville, District Judge Robert Batton, who has served 35 years in the position, is challenged by attorney Marshall Nash in the primary. The winner will be listed as an unopposed candidate in November.

In Sherwood, longtime District Judge Milas “Butch” Hale is running unopposed in the primary and will also do so in November’s general election.

The leadership of the Pulaski County government; the county assessor, the circuit/county clerk, the county judge, the sheriff and the treasurer are unopposed in the primary.

Some of the Pulaski County justice of the peace races do have multiple candidates.

In Dist. 11, which covers a large portion of Jacksonville, Justice of the Peace Bob Johnson of Jacksonville is challenged by James Stanley of rural North Pulaski County in the Republican primary. Democrat Suzette McNeely of Jacksonville will face the winner in November.

In Dist. 12, which covers a large portion of Sherwood, Republicans Jeff Rollin and Karilyn Brown will face off for the right to face independent James George. All three candidates live in Sherwood.

Justice of the Peace Phil Stowers of Maumelle, a Republican, and Jane Gray-Todd of Sher-wood, a Democrat, are the only two on the ballot for Dist. 13 and will face each other in the general election.