Leader Blues

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

TOP STORY >> Lonoke picks new mayor

BY JOHN HOFHEIMER and RICK KRON
Leader staff writers

IN SHORT: Even though the counting went slow again Tuesday night, McGee defeats Parks in Democratic runoff to succeed Privett. McGee has no opponent in November. Green wins for Pulaski County in Dist. 10.

Alderman Wayne McGee is apparently the next mayor of Lonoke, beating Jim Parks, the former alderman, 483 to 270 in the Democratic primary runoff Tuesday.

Election officials announced those numbers earlier in the evening, but it was unclear at the time whether they were complete returns for all Lonoke precincts or just interim results. Later, the election commission said those were the final numbers, according to McGee’s cousin, Gaylon McGee.

No one could be reached in the county clerk’s office to confirm the vote late Tuesday night.

In the Pulaski County runoff for District 10 Justice of the Peace, Rev. Robert Green beat Johnnie Mass by 40 votes. Green had 482 votes, or 52.2 percent, to 442 votes, or 47.8 percent for Mass. In statewide races, Bill Halter defeated Tim Woold-ridge in the Democratic run-off for lieutenant governor and Martha Shoffner defeated Mac Campbell in the Democratic run-off for state treasurer.

With 95 percent of the vote in, Rep. Dustin McDaniel was squeaking by Paul Suskie in the Democratic run-off for attorney general, even though Pulaski County voted three-to-one in favor of Suskie.

In the Lonoke Democratic primary on May 23, voters turned Mayor Thomas Privett out of office.

In that four-way race, McGee was the top vote-getter with 438, followed by Parks with 362, Privett with 215 and Roy Henderson with 38 votes, setting up the Tuesday runoff.

Because no Republican or independent candidate filed for the positions, McGee will succeed Privett in January.
Voters apparently rejected Privett for his association with former Police Chief Jay Campbell, who resigned in February after being indicted on several drug and theft felonies.

“I want to thank my supporters from the bottom of my heart,” said McGee, whose face was red from campaigning in the sun this week.

Privett has offered to include his successor in on budget discussions as the city prepares its 2007 budget, and McGee said he welcomes the opportunity.

“I want to learn as much as I can so I’m ready when I take office,” McGee said.

McGee is part owner of several businesses in Lonoke, including a family furniture store, a used-car dealership and an auction company.