Leader Blues

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

TOP STORY > >Several races will be hotly contested

By JOAN MCCOY
Leader staff writer

Open seats in the judicial districts in White and Lonoke counties will make those races interesting for the first time in several years, but the races for White County judge and Lonoke County sheriff, each with four candidates, also are sure to garner much attention.

Other races to watch include House Dist. 48, where former state Rep. Randy Minton of Ward, is running against Davy Carter of Cabot in the Republican primary.

In House Dist. 49, Kieth Williams of Beebe will run against Johnny Wheetley of Judsonia in the Democratic primary. The winner will face Republican Jonathan Dismang in November.

In White County, Circuit Judge Bill Mills, 17th Judicial District, is not running for reelection. Mark Derrick, the city attorney in Beebe, and Tom Hughes, former district court judge in Beebe, have both filed for the position and will be on the ballot for the election in May, which will include candidates for the preferential primary and the non-partisan judicial positions.

White County Judge Michael Lincoln will have to spend much of his second year in office trying to hold on to his job. Although Lincoln has no Republican opponent, the Democratic primary will decide whether he will face Dennis Gillam or Barth Grayson in November. Independent Valentine Huffman also has announced his candidacy for the office and will likely be on the November ballot.

In Lonoke County, the an-nouncement that Circuit Judge Lance Hanshaw, 23rd Judicial District, Division 1, would not run again meant that two of the three divisions in the court were open.

Circuit Judge Barbara Elmore, appointed to Division 3 when it was created last July, is running for Hanshaw’s position. Hanshaw’s son-in-law, Sandy Huckabee, is running unopposed for Division 3.

Lonoke County Prosecutor Lona McCastlain is running against Circuit Judge Phillip Whiteaker for Division 2. And Chuck Graham, assistant prosecutor, is running against Elmore for Division 1.

Lonoke County Sheriff Jim Roberson will face John W. Staley in the Republican primary. The Democratic primary will decide whether Sam Chamberlain or Steve Rich will be on the November ballot for sheriff.

Except for the county judge, only three offices in White County have more than one candidate. For the quorum court in Dist. 2, Larry Fisher and Bobby Burns will face each other in the Republican primary.

In the Democratic primary, Horace Taylor and Cathy (Fisher) Foster are running for JP Dist. 1 and Jimmy L. House and Julius Odom are running for JP Dist. 5.

But in Lonoke County, except for the county judge, who is unopposed, most elected officials will have opposition either in the primary or the general election.

County Clerk Dawn Porterfield, a Democrat, will face Cassandra Pitts, a Republican, and Circuit Court Clerk Deborah Oglesby, a

Democrat, will face Susan Denise Brown, a Republican, in November.

On the Lonoke County Quorum Court, these races will be on the ballot for the May Republican primary: Dist. 2, Jannette Minton against Larry Ridgeway; Dist. 3, Larry Odom against Lisa F. Shotts; Dist. 4, Donna Pedersen against Tim Lemons; Dist. 6,

Alexis Malham against Harry Roderick.

These quorum court races will be on the ballot for the Democratic primary: Adam Sims against Robert I. Depriest III, Dist. 7; Roger Dale Lynch against Richard Kyzer, Dist. 8; Wes Clement, Ronald L. Evans and Bill Ryker, Dist. 10.

In November, Republican Lynn Weeks Clark, Dist. 5, will face Democrat Barry Weathers; and Republican Mark Edward, Dist. 13, will face Democrat Kenny Ridgeway.

Democrat Henry “H.L.” Lang will become a new member of the quorum court without opposition. Lang will serve Dist. 12. Unopposed for their seats on the quorum court are Jody Grisham Troutman, Dist. 1; Robert Morey, Dist. 9 and Mike Dolan, Dist. 11.

Coroner Sherry Stracener, Tax Collector Patricia McCallie and Treasurer Karol Depriest also are unopposed.