Leader Blues

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

TOP STORY >>Runoff races decide winners

IN SHORT: Austin Mayor Chamberlain and Searcy Mayor LaForce are re-elected, while Michael Lincoln is elected White County judge.

By HEATHER HARTSELL
Leader staff writer

Austin Mayor Bernie Chamberlain has been re-elected to a third term, beating out challenger Barry B.J. Weathers II in a runoff election Tuesday.

“I thank the people of Austin for getting out in the rain to vote and I will keep working for them,” she said.
Chamberlain, who has been mayor of Austin since 1998, received 125 votes, or 57.87 percent, while Weathers received 91 votes, or 42.13 percent.

In White County, Republican Michael Lincoln won the White County judge’s race with 5,756 votes (50.8 percent), while independent challenger Dennis Gillam lost with 5,573 votes, or 49.2 percent of the 11,509 total votes cast.

“I’m not surprised I won,” Lincoln said. “I thought my opponent’s negative campaigning worked against him. I expect a smooth transition and will work with current Judge Bob Parish on the county budget.”

Lincoln also said he would work with recently elected White County Sheriff Ricky Shroud to finish transferring prisoners into the new county jail.

Incumbent Belinda LaForce, a Democrat, won the Searcy’s mayor’s race with 2,115 votes (50.2 percent), narrowly edging out her opponent, former Alderman Dale Brewer, a Republican, who received 2,098 votes (49.8 percent).

In Beebe, John Johnson won the Ward 3, Position 3 alderman position with 370 votes (63.03 percent), beating out challenger Garland Kirkpatrick, who received 217 votes (36.9 percent).

Chamberlain said Austin had the best turnout in the Lonoke County runoff elections with 199 voting at the polls, in addition to early voting.

In signs placed before runoffs, Chamberlain urged residents to re-elect her over “youth and no experience” re-ferring to 25-year-old Weathers, who has never held public office.

During the Nov. 7 election, Cham-berlain received 44 percent of the vote (105 votes) and Weathers received 35 percent (85 votes). The third mayoral candidate was Jer-emy C. Reed, who garnered 21 percent (51 votes).

Republican Mike Reveley is the new constable for Ward township. Reveley received 32 votes, or 66.67 percent.
Michael E. Kin-dall brought in 16 votes, or 33.33 percent.

In the Nov. 7 election, Reveleyreceived 43 percent of the vote (284 votes), and Kindall earned 39 percent of the vote (259 votes). James W. Williams Sr. was the third candidate, receiving 117 votes (18 percent).

The previous Ward township constable was James Williams.

The Lonoke District 4 alderman seat went to Wendell Walker, an independent, who received 68 votes, or 54.84 percent. His opponent, Democrat Kenneth Pasley, received 56 votes, or 45.16 percent.

In the regular election, Pasley got 35 percent of the vote, a total of 64 votes, and Walker got 34 percent of the vote, a mere one vote behind Pasley.

The third candidate, Repub-lican Robert Bob Combs, received 58 votes.

The District 4 seat was previously held by Richard Bransford, who had been alderman for a number of years but chose not to run again, according to Lonoke County Clerk Prudie Percifull.

This was Percifull’s last election, as Dawn Porterfield was elected to the seat in the Nov. 7 elections.

“It’s going to be hard to walk away,” Percifull said. She has been serving the residents of Lonoke County as county clerk for eight years.

Runoff elections were held for these races because none of the candidates received 50 percent or more of the vote during the Nov. 7 regular election.