Tuesday, June 05, 2012

TOP STORY >> Recount still shows judge as the winner

Leader staff writer

Jacksonville district judge candidate Marshall Nash still lost the race by four votes after Pulaski County Election Commission officials spent two hours Tuesday afternoon recounting ballots as he requested.

The final tally remained 1,113 votes for incumbent Robert Batton and 1,109 for Nash.

Batton, who watched the recount with his family, said he didn’t want to comment and he had to leave the recount quickly to make it to another engagement.

According to the first unofficial primary results, Batton won the election by five votes, but his lead dropped to four after a review.

Election commissioner Susan Inman said the board reviewed ballots that were challenged because questions were raised about voter eligibility. Nash received one more vote after the review.

But no absentee overseas ballots, which Nash had hoped would help get him into office, arrived by Friday’s deadline.

After Batton serves this four-year term, he plans to retire with 40 years on the bench.

Nash was not present at the recount. He told the commission last week when it set the time for the recount that he had a previous commitment. His wife DeAundra represented him at the recount.

Nash said after the announcement, “I’m happy. I’m thankful for the opportunity to have run. One thing that I believe that is certainly positive that will come out of this is that perhaps the sitting judge will realize that there are a number of people who are frustrated with his courtroom antics and lack of professionalism in the courtroom and that maybe he will spend the next four years correcting that behavior.

“They are frustrated and disappointed with the things that have been arising out of the courtroom.”

He continued, “The people who voted for me voted for me because of the issues. They had their faith and belief and confidence that I have what it takes to make the Jacksonville courtroom one of the most respected in the state.”

Another point Nash wanted to make was what should happen if Batton doesn’t finish the term.

“Mr. Batton should not be allowed to simply name his successor, one of his friends or buddies that happen to work with him, so they can complete his term. If he fails to or decides not to complete his term, I should be allowed to complete that term,” he said.

Nash said he has not decided whether to run again in 2016 because he doesn’t know what the future may hold for him.