Leader Blues

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

TOP STORY >>GOP wins key races in local contests

By JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader staff writer

Lonoke County Prosecuting Attorney Lona McCastlain turned back a harrowing challenge from Democrat Tim Blair by 79 votes out of 15,825 ballots that were cast. Barring a 79-vote swing from challenged votes and military votes, McCastlain will still be in office after the first of the year to press on with her wide-ranging criminal trial against former Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell, his wife and two bail bondsmen on an array of felony charges.

With late votes coming from the Republican stronghold in the north part of the county, McCastlain overtook Blair late in the vote counting. McCastlain said the vote showed that a lot of residents believed in her same philosophy. She said that when Blair tried to campaign negatively, her answer was to respond with the facts.

By a vote of 9,249 to 6,577, her fellow Republican, Sheriff Jim Roberson, ended for once and for all Charlie Martin’s ambition to recapture the office he first lost to Roberson in 2002. “This was the last time,” Martin said of running for sheriff Tuesday night. He said freshly reelected Ward Mayor Art Brooke had offered him the position as Ward chief of police.
Roberson couldn’t be reached for comment. “I’m humbled,” said Republican Eddie Joe Williams after winning 52 percent of the vote in a four-way contest for Cabot mayor, succeeding Stubby Stumbaugh.

His closest opponent, Kenny Ridgeway, got 22 percent. Runoffs will be conducted to decide the Austin mayor’s race, a Lonoke City Council seat and the constable’s race in Ward Township. Mayor Bernie Chamberlain, who got 44 percent of the vote in her reelection bid, will face a runoff from Barry D. Weathers II, who got 35 percent.

In the Lonoke District 4 City Council race, Democrat Kenneth Pasley got 35 percent of the vote and will face independent Wendell Walker, who got 34 percent, in the runoff. Republican Mike Reveley (43 percent) faces a runoff against Democrat Michael E. Kindall (39 percent). Except for long lines at some polling places and problems with printing the paper ballot trails, the election ran smoothly, according to Larry Clarke of the election commission.

Other winners include Dawn Porterfield, county clerk; Samuel Smith (by three votes) coroner; Jannette Minton, Alexis Malham, Casey Vanbuskirk for quorum court; Ray Glover, Carlisle mayor; Harold “Bill” Morris, Humnoke mayor.Jimmy Taylor, Cabot city attorney; Eddie Long, Virgil Teague Jr., Tom Armstrong, Becky Lemaster and Lisa Brickell, Cabot aldermen; Ginger Tarno, Marrice Jackson and Jeff Shaver, Ward aldermen; Christopher Dawson and Tammy Williams, Austin alderman; Curt Moody, Carlisle alderman; and Phillip Howell, Lonoke alderman.

During the May primaries, the first time the touch-screen voting machines were used along with paper ballots, it took four days to get the ballots counted. Tuesday night, all the ballots were counted by 11:18 p.m.