Friday, May 18, 2012

TOP STROY >> Primaries to decide key races Tuesday

Leader staff writer

The polls will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday for the primary election that will determine which candidates win now and which candidates will be on the ballot in November.

Arkansas has an open primary. Voters of any party may vote for the candidate of whatever party they choose, but voters in one primary are prohibited from participating in another primary or runoff, although this prohibition is difficult to enforce.

In Lonoke County, the Republican county judge is running unopposed for a second term. Two Democrats and four Republicans are running for sheriff. The winners of those primaries will face each other in November.

But in the races for county assessor, circuit clerk and several seats on the quorum court, the winners will be decided in the Republican primary.

Steve Finch and Dean White are the Democrats in the race for sheriff. John Staley, Jason Wilkinson, Steve Finch and James Kulesa are the Republicans.

In the race for assessor, incumbent Jack McNally faces Jim Bailey in the Republican primary.

Incumbent Denise Brown hopes to keep her position as circuit clerk when she faces Deborah Oglesby in the Republican primary. Brown is in her first term. Oglesby was her predecessor.

County Clerk Dawn Porterfield, a Democrat, will be on the ballot in November against either William “Larry” Clarke or Lisa Goodman, both Republicans.

In Lonoke County Quorum Court races, Republicans Brent Cannon and Toby Troutman are the only candidates running in Dist. 1; Republicans Barry “BJ” Weathers and Larry Ridgeway are the only candidates in Dist. 2; Republicans Joshua McCann and Dr. Henry L. Lang, the incumbent, are the only candidates in Dist. 3; Republicans B.L. “Ernie” Ernst and Darrin Waymack are the only candidates in Dist. 4; Republicans Tate House and Charles D. Evans are the only candidates in Dist. 8; and Republicans Larry Odom, the incumbent, and Tim Yarboro are the only candidates in Dist. 13.

Like County Judge Doug Erwin, the county collector and the other seats on the quorum court are unopposed.

The race for county treasurer will be decided in November when Democrat Karol Depriest, the incumbent, will face Republican Patti Weathers.

Three members of the quorum court have competition for their seats but only the race for Pos. 5 will be decided Tuesday when incumbent Efrem Z. Jones faces Lloyd Whitaker in the Democratic primary.

In the race for Pos. 2, incumbent Pat Howell faces Danny Whitehurst in the Democratic primary. The winner will face Republican Stacey Pennington Moore in November. The winner of Pos. 1 also will be decided in November when Jane Derning, the Democratic incumbent faces Republican challenger John D. Robinson.

Circuit Judge Philip Whiteaker is running for Arkansas Court of Appeals, Dist. 1, Pos. 2 against Jeanette Robinson and Richard Lusby.


In Pulaski County, Dist. 11 JP Bob Johnson (R-Jacksonville) is being challenged by Republican James “Jim” Stanley of rural Jacksonville.

Dist. 12 JP Jeff Rollins of (R-Sherwood) is running against Republican Karilyn Brown of Sherwood.

Jacksonville District Judge Robert Batton is challenged by Jacksonville attorney Marshall Nash. Hill Township Constable Dennis Sobba (R-Jacksonville) is facing Republican Frederick “Rick” Scott of Maumelle.

Tjuana Byrd is facing John Hout and Patti James for circuit judge, sixth judicial district, 11th Division.


White County Judge Michael Lincoln is challenged by Bill Haynie in the Republican primary. But except for the county clerk, which has a three-way race among Republicans, all other statutory offices are unopposed.

Britney Sellers-Hawkins, Randall Young and Cheryl Evans are the Republicans running for the position of county clerk, which became open last year when Tanya Burleson stepped down last year for health reasons.

Of the five races in White County’s 13 justice of the peace Districts for the quorum court, only the race for Dist. 11 will be decided by the primary.

In that race, incumbent Ed Land faces David C. Schoenberger in the Republican primary.

Waylon D. Heathscott, the Democratic incumbent in Dist. 8 will face Layne “Boss” Vaughan in the Democratic primary.

The winner will face Greg Niblock in November.

The race in Dist. 1 (Beebe) is between Horace Taylor, the Democratic incumbent and Nathan Ray, a Republican.

In Dist. 5, Jimmy L. House, the Democratic incumbent, faces Republican Sam Hailey in November.

In Dist. 7, incumbent Kenneth Horton, an independent, faces challenges from David W. Freppon, a Democrat and Lesli S. “Spencer” Chestnut, a Republican.