Wednesday, March 02, 2016

TOP STORY >> Lonoke County officials winners

Leader staff writer

In Tuesday’s primary election, area voters decided who would be their voice in city and county government, and who would preside over district and state court cases.

There will likely be a few runoffs for candidates in three-way races that did not garner more than 50 percent of the votes, according to unofficial results announced at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. Votes in three precincts had not yet been counted.


All opposed candidates on the primary ballot in Lonoke County ran as Republicans.

Lonoke County Judge Doug Erwin was re-elected, beating out challengers Richard Kyzer and Fred D. (Skipper) Clement Jr.

Erwin said, “I want to thank all of the citizens of the county, and especially the ones that voted for me, for their support. We hope to continue the progress we’ve started in the county and are looking forward to the future.”

Incumbent Dawn Porterfield also defeated her opponent, Courtney Ruble, and remained county clerk.

Sheriff John Staley won re-election against Steve Finch.

Staley said, “It’s an awesome number. It shows the citizens of Lonoke County support what we’re doing and know we’re doing what’s right, not what’s easy, and we hold folks accountable for their actions. That’s what we’re elected to do and that’s what we’re going to continue doing...We’re doing something right.”

Karl E. (Eddie) Pennington, who dropped out of the coroner race because he took a new job that keeps him out of the county most of the time, still won the position. He defeated Carla Horton and Kenny Fraley. Election official Jim Bailey said there would likely be a runoff between those two.

The Dist. 1 justice of the peace winner was Brent Canon. He was only over the 50 percent mark by 12 votes. So, after the three precincts that weren’t reported by press time are announced, there could be a runoff.

Jesse Bear and Kevin Livengood lost the race.

Claud E. Irvin was elected to the Dist. 4 JP seat, but he was just shy of the required 50 percent to not be in a runoff. He beat out John D. Howard and Gregory Gibson.

Dist. 5 JP Adam Justice lost his re-election bid to Robert (Bobby) Gilliam.

In the Dist. 9, Linda Waddell came out ahead of Les Carpenter, but votes were being recounted when this paper went to press.

Bob Morris, not Daniel Hayes or Kenny Ridgeway, won the Dist. 13 seat on the Lonoke County Quorum Court. But he was a bit short of the 50 percent and will likely be in a runoff.


Chris Bulice, not Chris A. Waters, won the York Township contest. Both ran as Republicans.

But that victory could be contested because Lonoke County Election Commissioner recently discovered maps are not drawn to reflect precincts as they relate to constable races.

The result was that only some of the registered voters in York Township were able to vote for constable on Tuesday.

The man who loses the election could sue, the commissioner told The Leader last week.

Competing for Gray Township were William Anthony (Tony) Southerland and Shay Cornwell, both Republicans. Voters chose Southerland.

The new Gumwood Town-ship constable is Republican David C. Hankins. He defeated Stephen Wright, another Republican.

The victor will face Democrat Eugene Beno Duke in November’s general election.


Democrat Lillie Ingram McMullen won out over Jason Christopher Smedley, another Democrat, in the Dist. 5 justice of the peace race.


Judge races were held at the same time as the primary and are nonpartisan contests.

Ward City Attorney Clint McGue defeated incumbent Joseph (Joe) O’Bryan in the Lonoke County District Judge-Northern Division race.

O’Bryan was arrested in August for third-degree domestic battery. Special, appointed Faulkner County District Court Judge David Reynolds dismissed his case.

McGue also beat Cabot Attorney John Flynn. But there will be a runoff.

Cammack Village and Wrightsville District Court Judge Rita Bailey defeated state Sen. David Johnson (D-Little Rock). She will preside over both the Jacksonville and Maumelle district courts.

The two courts will soon share a judge and have countywide jurisdiction because of a 2011 law aimed at lightening the caseload of circuit courts across the state. All of Pulaski County voted on the new judge.


Cabot had one city council race because Alderman Dallan Buchanan resigned Oct. 1 from representing Ward 2 in Position 1 to pursue a job in another city.

Douglas E. Warner defeated Damon Bivins.

Both were listed as Independents and competed in a special election that coincided with the primary.


Dates to know include March 22, which is when a runoff, if one is needed after the primary election, must be held. The voter registration deadline for that would be Feb. 22.

The general election and nonpartisan runoffs are Nov. 8. The voter registration deadline for that election is Oct. 10.

If a runoff is needed after the general election, it will be held Nov. 29. The voter registration deadline would be Oct. 31.

Voters must apply to register to vote one day before the actual deadline. Any deadline falling on a weekend or holiday will be extended to the next business day.