Leader Blues

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

TOP STORY >>Outcome still same following recount

Leader staff writer

If it changed nothing else, the recount of two Republican primary races Saturday confirmed the original tallies and helped ease doubts about the optical scanner and its programming. Following the May 23 Republican primary election, Virgil Teague, Jr. held a one-vote advantage over Carl Schmidt, 586 to 585 in the Cabot alderman Ward 2, Position 1 race. Teague’s narrowest of victories withstood Schmidt’s recount challenge Saturday.

Teague could still face one or more independents in November. Cabot independents haven’t filed yet. Teague said he had been as confident as he could be under the circumstances, since he was winner in the first primary count—discarded because the optical scanner was programmed incorrectly, then again May 28 for official count of all Lonoke County ballots and then again last Saturday in the face of Schmidt’s petition for a recount.

“I knew that’s the way it should have come out,” Teague said Monday, but “you never know what’s going to happen in a recount.” Teague, a retired Union Pacific manager, said he’d bring his management skills to bear on the city council. Traffic and drainage are probably the biggest problems, he said. Since Stumbaugh didn’t pay for his recount, Edwards will be the quorum member.

He said he like to bring accountability on the budget process and help take care of traffic problems in the northern part of the county. Edwards said that despite talk and news stories about his being part of an ultraconservative conspiracy to takeover the Republican Party, neither he nor Casey VanBuskirk, who beat incumbent Gina Burton, met Randy Minton until after they filed for office. “I’ve only spoken to Randy one time, for 15 to 20 minutes. I know they think Randy is who we are going to speak for. He said he wasn’t there to push Minton’s agenda through the quorum court.

“The Republican Assembly aren’t ultraconservative,” said Edwards. “They are just true Republicans. They have conservative true Reagan values.” In a letter to the editor published Wednesday, VanBuskirk said essentially the same thing. “I like to think that I won the election because of my hard work and dedication to winning. Randy Minton does not get to choose the JP for District 12. The people who live within District 12 make that decision.

Of Burton, VanBuskirk said, “The only reason she is out of office is because of the simple fact that she did not vote as a Republican. She ran for office as a Republican but too often chose to vote with the Democrats.” Burton says she will not endorse VanBuskirk when she runs against Patty Knox, a Democrat, in November. “She’s been to only one quorum court meeting and is completely unknowledgeable about the way it functions. She has an association with the Minton Assembly,” Burton said. “She’ll be told how to vote and that’s something I object to. I think JPs should vote according to their conscience and the information they are given.”

Burton said she has no immediate plans but would remain active in the Republican Party. “I believe in the Republican Party and Republican Values and I want to do what I can to just promote the Republican Agenda.