Leader Blues

Friday, June 09, 2006

TOP STORY >>Voters set to choose mayor, JP in runoff

BY JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: Local voters return to the polls Tuesday to decide who will be the Lonoke mayor and who will
represent a district including parts of McAlmont, Sherwood and Jacksonville on the Pulaski County Circuit Court.

Voters will decide a handful of local contests and pick their favorites in three races for statewide office in primary runoffs Tuesday.
Meanwhile, recounts were slated for 10 a.m. Saturday in three Lonoke County Republican primary races—two of them at the request of defeated incumbents, the other in the case of a Cabot alderman’s race decided by a single vote out of the 1,171 cast.

LONOKE MAYOR

In a four-way primary contest in Lonoke May 23, voters turned Mayor Thomas Privett out of office, setting up a Democratic runoff between Alderman Wayne McGee and former Alderman Jim Parks. Since there are no Republican or independent opponents, the winner of the runoff will be Lonoke’s next mayor.

McGee’s race against Parks may be less about substance than style, with each promising to continue the work Privett initiated to attract business and to bring a second I-40 interchange to Lonoke.

CONFLICTING STYLES

McGee is an open-faced good ole boy, buying and trading cars, selling furniture and running an auction company, all with his cousin Gaylen McGee. Inclined toward blue jeans, shorts and polo shirts, his is a down-home appeal. He says he knows everyone in town and, delivering furniture, has been in about everyone’s home.

Parks, on the other hand, favors more formal attire like the crisp, three-piece suit and shined shoes he wore speak last week before the Lonoke Chamber of Commerce.

Tall, white-haired and angular, he often refers to himself in the third person, promising to bring professionalism to the office.

A former manager and sales representative for Abbot Labora-tories, Parks implies that he is best suited to meet with national and international representatives seeking to locate a manufacturing plant.

Both men say they expect a light turnout for the runoff and just hope to get their supporters to the polls.
PULASKI JP RACE

In Pulaski County, voters in parts of Sherwood, McAlmont and Jacksonville will pick the next Pulaski County District 10 Justice of the Peace, choosing between the incumbent, Rev. Robert E. Green, and former JP John Mass.

Between them, Mass, Green or Green’s wife has represented the district for more than a decade. Among those voting locations are the Jacksonville Community Cen-ter and the Bill Harmon Recreation Center in Sherwood.

STATEWIDE

Statewide races on the Demo-cratic runoff ballot pit state Rep. Tim Wooldridge against Bill Halter for the nomination for lieutenant governor, and North Little Rock City Attorney Paul Suskie and state Rep. Dustin McDaniel for attorney general. Martha Schoffner and Mac Campbell are in a runoff state treasurer.

The winner of the Wooldridge-Halter race will face Republican state Sen. Jim Holt in November.

The winner of the increasingly contentious primary runoff for attorney general will face Gunner Delay in November.
Schoffner or Campbell will face Republican Chris Morris.

PRIMARY RECOUNT

Carl Schmidt, who lost 586 to 585 to Virgil Teague Jr. in a Republican primary race for Cabot alderman Ward 2, Position 1, seems the most likely to turn an election around.

Dist. 12 JP Gina Burton, who lost her race to newcomer Casey Van Buskirk by only six votes, 115 to 109, has asked for a recount, and so has Dist. 13 JP Marty Stumbaugh, who lost to newcomer Mark Edward, 151 to 125.