TOP STORY >> Tempers flare as charges are flung
Leader staff writer
IN SHORT: First day of filing gets off to hot start with an even more heated exchange between independent county judge candidate Dennis Gillam and White County Judge Bob Parish.
A firestorm of words erupted in the lobby of the White County Courthouse during the first day of election filing Tuesday as Judge Bob Parish confronted independent candidate for judge Dennis Gillam over rumors Parish was behind the recent consolidation of polling sites around the county from 64 to 32.
“I have never had anything to do with the way people in White County vote,” Parish told Gillam. “We have the Election Commission and that’s their job.”
“Don’t you point your finger at me, Bob, just put your damn hands in your pockets,” Gillam told Parish.
Justices of the peace Layne “Boss” Vaughn and George “Bud” Osborn, both on hand to file for their seats on the quorum court, separated the two men. Both Gillam and Parish left the courthouse and Gillam returned later to file.
He didn’t plan on it, but Brennan Stevens, an independent running for constable of Gray Township, was the first candidate to file for any White County public office when filing opened at noon.
The Republican and Democratic primary election will be held Tuesday, May 23 when voters who declare a party affiliation will choose which candidate will represent them on the ballot in the Nov. 7 general election. Independent candidates are guaranteed to be on the ballot, according to Tanya Burleson. The filing period for independent candidates begins at noon Thursday, July 20 and ends at noon on Thursday, Aug. 9.
As a constable, Stevens would have the authority to arrest, serve warrants and pursue suspected felons in the Searcy city limits. Earlier this year, the White County Quorum Court consolidated the number of townships and thereby reduced the number of constables, from 43 to 13.
The townships are now Union, Cypert, Cadron, Gray, Dogwood, Big Creek, Gum Springs, Liberty and Harrison.
“Now that I’ve filed, I got to get out and do the door-to-door part,” Stevens said.
White County Sheriff Pat Garrett filed for re-election Tuesday as well. Garrett is running for re-election as a Republican after switching political parties last year. He’s expected to have three opponents, Democrats Corey Simmons and Allen Robinson and Ricky Shourd, a Republican.
“I’m going to continue patrols in the rural part of the county to keep our communities crime and drug free,” Garrett said.
Other White County filings in-cluded Kyle Stokes-R and Dennis Gillam-I for county judge; Debra Lang-D for tax assessor, Sue Liles-D for tax collector; Tanya Burleson-R for county clerk; Jimmy House-D for justice of the peace, District 5; Layne “Boss” Vaughn-D and Bob Barnum-D for justice of the peace District 8; Jimmy Dale Smith-I for justice of the peace District 9; Bobby Quattlebaum-R for justice of the peace, District 10; George “Bud” Osborn for District 12; Roger Gray-D for constable of Harrison Township; Rick Veach-D for mayor of Jud-sonia; Julian McFadden-D and Max McDonald-D for mayor of Kensett; Mary Ann Arnett for alderman of Ward 1, Position 2 in Searcy; Carl Nutter-R for alderman Ward 1, Position 1 in Searcy and Dale Brewer-R for mayor of Searcy.