Leader Blues

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

TOP STORY >> Garrett, Capps, primary victors

By JOAN MCCOY
Leader staff writer

The three-way race in the Democratic primary for White County sheriff was a close one for Pat Garrett, who is seeking a fourth term in office, but when all the votes were finally counted at just past 11 p.m. Tuesday, he was ahead with just under 51 percent of the votes.

Although this is Garrett’s fourth race, it is his first as a Democrat. He switched parties this year, saying the Re-publicans no longer gave him the support he needed.

The unofficial results of the race were Garrett, 2,958, Corey Simmons, 855, and Alan Roberson, 1,995.

Sen. John Paul Capps (D-Searcy) easily won re-election in Dist. 29, beating Gene Mason, 3,054 to 417 in White County. Preliminary results in north Pulaski County, which is also in Dist. 29, showed Capps with 562 votes to Mason’s 220 votes.
Garrett was reportedly at home with friends most of the evening, but he arrived at the courthouse just after the results were in.

“I feel absolutely outstanding,” Garrett said about the outcome of the election. “All my opponents threw everything they had at me. Now I’m ready to start my campaign for November.”

Garrett will face Ricky Shourd, a Republican, in the November election.

Maj. Kyle Stokes, the third in command at the sheriff’s department, and a candidate for White County judge in the Republican primary, did not fare as well as his boss. He lost to Michael Lincoln, 1,453 to 964.

The loss was Stokes’ third, and he said he would not run for office again.

“I took three swings. Now it’s time for someone else to step up to the plate,” he said.

Lincoln, a newcomer to White County politics, said he believes the administrative skills he has honed in 10 years as executive director of Camp Wildwood and before that with 13 years in public education make him a viable candidate for county judge.
“I’m honest and I’m fair and I’m a good consensus builder,” he said.

In November, he will face independent candidate Dennis Gillam and Waylon Heathscott, who won over Barth Grayson in the Democratic primary, 3,292 to 2,345.

Grayson, in his fifth race for county judge, conceded his loss to Heathscott after 85 of the county’s 92 precincts had been counted.

Heathscott, the current county treasurer and a former White County judge, says he believes he can beat Gillam and Lincoln if he has Grayson’s help.

“I sure need Mr. Grayson’s people,” Heathscott said. I sure need their help.”

Grayson said he believed he lost because he didn’t go door to door enough during his campaign. He hadn’t pressed for support from enough people.

Asked if he would throw his support to Heathscott, Grayson’s response was a definite maybe.

“I probably will because of the Democratic tie,” he said. “I’m deep into that party. Of course, I’ve got ties to Dennis, too. We’re both blackberry growers.”

Grayson, who owns several small newspapers, in addition to a few acres of blackberries, says he learned about the county by covering it, and he really wants to serve in public office.

Asked if he would run for county judge again, Grayson answered, “I’ll never say never.”

The only primary election for the White County Quorum Court was won by Democrat Layne “Boss” Vaughn, the longtime JP in District 8.

He defeated challenger Bob Barnum, 493 to 259.