Friday, November 16, 2012

TOP STOY >> Lonoke County GOP seeks to oust Pedersen

Leader staff writer

One of the original Lonoke County Republicans is calling for former JP Bill “Pete” Pedersen’s removal from the party.

Jim Fuller, who in 1983 was one of two known Republicans in Lonoke County, said Friday that Pedersen is carrying on a personal vendetta against two members of the Lonoke County Republican Committee that he helped found, JPs Henry Lang and Larry Odom.

Fuller said ousting Pedersen would end some of the division on the committee that is keeping many Republicans away.

“Dissension hurts our image,” Fuller said. “What I did wasn’t meant to be vindictive, but it’s the only way I feel we can move on.”

Fuller’s letter, accusing Pedersen of character assassination and harassing a committee member while he was campaigning, went to Lucas Minton, chairman of the Lonoke County Republican Committee.

Minton said Pedersen will be allowed to choose two of the committee members who will investigate the charges and he will choose the third.

The charges will likely be dismissed just like the charges against Lang and Odom, he said.

Complaints against those two Republicans that could have ended in their removal from the committee were dismissed about a week ago.

They were accused of working against the interests of the committee. Specifically, Lang was accused of campaigning for candidates for the Cabot City Council who weren’t members of the Lonoke County Republican Committee.

Odom was accused of refusing to rent billboards to Republican candidates for county office.

Contacted Friday afternoon, Pedersen said he learned about Fuller’s letter on Thursday, but he was occupied with the death of a close friend and did not have time to respond to questions until next week.

Pedersen was arrested Nov. 2 after Lang filed a complaint with the county sheriff, saying Pedersen drove his car to within inches of where he was sitting at the Cabot City Annex during early voting, blew the horn, cursed him and made obscene gestures.

Pedersen was released from custody without bond that same afternoon. Lang filed another complaint with city officials the next morning, saying Pedersen threatened him.

District Judge Teresa Hughes of Beebe has been appointed to hear those complaints in Cabot District Court.

Hughes also has signed a no-contact order against Pedersen that Lang requested.