Leader Blues

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

TOP STORY >>Dems win top spots statewide Tuesday

By RICK KRON
Leader staff writer

It was a slam-dunk for Democrats as they laid claim to all statewide and Pulaski County offices. Voters ushered Attorney General Mike Beebe into the governorship, picked Bill Halter as the new lieutenant governor and Dustin McDaniel as attorney general. Democrats also grabbed three of four U.S. representative spots, with Marion Berry quickly putting Cabot Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh in the loser’s bracket.

The new sheriff in Pulaski County is Doc Holladay, and Buddy Villines got another nod as county judge. In Sherwood, where all candidates run as independents, the new mayor is Alderman Dan Stedman, who defeated Mike Presson. Current Mayor Bill Harmon, who has served 14 years, decided early not to try for another term.

Stedman captured 3,910 votes (62 percent) of the vote, compared to Presson’s 2,439 votes (38 percent). “I feel great about the support I received,” Stedman said, “and I’m looking forward to serving the people of Sherwood. I believe in teamwork and with teamwork, we’ll bring Sherwood to new heights.” In the one of two contested Sherwood alderman races, Alderman

Becki Vassar retained her Ward 1, Position 1 seat, defeating Robert Walla. Vassar received 1,108 votes (81 percent) compared to Walla’s 265 votes (19 percent). For Vassar, it’ll be her 15th term in office; she’s already served on the council for 28 years. “I guess this makes me the dinosaur,” she laughed, “but I’m as excited about this term as I was my first one. I see a bright future for Sherwood.” Vassar added that she was “very humbled and appreciative” of the voters’ support.

In the other city council race—a battle for the Ward 1, Position 2 seat—Charlie Harmon defeated Greg Chastine, 858 votes (61 percent) to 505 votes (39 percent). Harmon called the race between him and Chastine as “very gentlemanly and enjoyable. It was a clean positive race,” he said, adding that he’s excited to be on the city council where his father, Bill Harmon started out 24 years ago. Harmon’s grandfather was also an alderman, serving on the Hughes council for 42 years. All aldermen in Position 1 seats will serve four-year terms, while Position 2 seat holders will serve two-year terms, giving the council staggered terms for the first time.

Position 1 aldermen include Vassar, Butch Davis, Sheila Sulcer and Keith Rankin. Position 2 aldermen include Harmon, David Henry, Marina Brooks and Steve Fender. Virginia Hillman received the nod for another term as the city clerk/treasurer, defeating Sharon McMinn. Hillman received 3,915 votes (62 percent) of the vote compared to McMinn’s 2,369 votes (38 percent). “I’m excited by the confidence the voters have shown in me,” Hillman said, “it was a great victory, and we’ll keep on doing what we are doing to make Sherwood a great place to live and work.”

In Jacksonville, none of the council seats were contested, but aldermen in Position 1 seats were re-elected to four-year terms and those in Position 2 seats were elected to two-year terms to create staggered terms. Those in Position 1 seats include Kenny Elliott, Reddie Ray, Gary Fletcher and Avis Twitty. Position 2 aldermen include Marshall Smith, Terry Sansing, Linda Rinker, Bob Stroud and Bill Howard.

Kevin McCleary was appointed earlier this year to Ward 2, Position 1 seat when Alderman Robert Lewis died. McCleary or someone else will have to be reappointed to that seat by the council in January to serve for four years. Mayor Tommy Swaim was re-elected to a sixth term without an opponent. In Pulaski County, with most of the precincts reporting, County Judge Buddy Villines bested his Republican opponent, Buddy York, 72,629 votes (68 percent) to 34,217 votes (32 percent).

In the sheriff’s race, Doc Holladay garnered 73,977 votes (69 percent), while DeWayne Graham, a Sherwood resident, netted 33,226 votes (31 percent). Former Justice of the Peace Dennis Sobba, of Jacksonville, was re-elected to his position as Gray Township Constable. He defeated Rick Hill 23,627 votes (59 percent) to 16,334 votes (41 percent). Jacksonville’s Pat O’Brien was unopposed in his run for a second term as Pulaski circuit/county clerk.

Statewide, with 65 percent of the precincts reporting, Beebe had a 20-point lead over Asa Hutchinson. Mike Beebe had 302,374 votes (58 percent) to Hutchinson’s 204,018 votes (38 percent). Halter outdistanced state Sen. Jim Holt, 309,664 votes (60 percent) to 207,689 votes (40 percent) for the state’s number two spot. McDaniel solidly defeated his Republican opponent Gunner DeLay, 298,847 votes (65 percent) to 181,440 votes (35 percent). In the First Congressional District race, U.S. Rep. Berry won handily over Republican challenger Stumbaugh. Berry had fifteen times more campaign funds and beat Stumbaugh by more than a two-to-one margin. With 51 percent of the precincts reporting, Berry garnered 82,914 votes (69 percent) to Stumbaugh’s 36,895 votes (31 percent).

Things were a little tighter in the Second Congressional District as Rep. Snyder defeated newcomer Andy Mayberry by about 20 percentage points. With 92 percent of the precincts reporting, Snyder captured 120,760 votes (61 percent), while Mayberry pulled in 76,422 votes (39 percent). The surprise battle came in the Third Congressional District, a Republican stronghold, where incumbent John Boozman got all he could handle early by Democrat challenger Woodrow Anderson. Boozman pulled away late in the evening.

With 58 percent of the precincts reporting, Boozman had 48,818 votes (60 percent) to Anderson’s 32,617 votes (40 percent).
In the Fourth Congressional District, Rep. Mike Ross easily defeated Republican challenger Joe Ross. With 73 percent of the precincts reporting, Mike Ross garnered 91,621 votes (76 percent) while Joe Ross had 29,374 votes (24 percent).
Two state ballot issues also passed easily. One was a bond issue for higher education.

With 54 percent of the precincts reporting, 249,331 voters (68 percent) said yes, and 117,590 (32 percent) said no. A constitutional amendment to allow charitable bingo also passed with 255,064 yes votes (69 percent) and 116,783 no votes (31 percent).