Leader Blues

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

TOP STORY >> Early runoff voting starts

By RICK KRON
Leader staff writer

Early voting has started in Jacksonville’s runoff election for mayor, with 196 ballots cast Tuesday.

The candidates are Alderman Gary Fletcher and Alderman Kenny Elliott, survivors of the six-way primary on May 12.

Election Day is Tuesday, starting at 7:30 a.m., but residents may cast their votes early at either Jacksonville City Hall or the Pulaski County Regional Building.

Of the four candidates who lost in the primary, one is backing Elliott, one is backing Fletcher and two are remaining neutral.

Realtor Beckie Brooks, who was fifth in the primary is backing Fletcher, the top vote-getter. “I think he’s the best hope for some of the changes that I would like to see,” she said.

She said both candidates have been running strong campaigns and that, at this point in the game, there were no campaign suggestions she could offer either one.

Randy “Doc” Rhodd, president of a local motorcycle ministry and who came in last, said he is backing Elliott, who was second.

“He has what it takes to lead the city in the right direction,” Rhodd insisted.

He also suggested that both candidates, regardless of the outcome, work hand-in-hand to do what’s best for the city.

Developer Tommy Dupree, who came in fourth in the primary, said he has told both candidates that he will remain neutral. “In my business I can’t take sides,” he said.
Dupree then quipped, “I’ve got enough problems dealing with the planning commission. I don’t need either one of them mad at me.”

He will vote for one, but it will stay a private matter.

Farm Bureau manager Jody Urquhart, who came in third, is also staying neutral. “It’s just something I feel I need to do,” he said, adding, “I’m looking forward to getting a good mayor out of this race.”

Urquhart wants both candidates to continue to run their race, but says that whoever is elected needs to “come out swinging on education.”

“The new mayor needs to be the mayor of education,” he said. “Improving our schools is the missing key to us changing our path. We have a lot going for us, but the major detriment is the schools.”

Early voting at the Pulaski County Regional Building, 501 W. Markham, Little Rock, goes through Monday (excluding the weekend) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Early voting may also continues at Jacksonville City Hall through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On Election Day voting will be from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at these locations:

– Precinct 27 at McArthur Assembly of God Church, 3501 John Hardin Dr.

– Precinct 29 at Jacksonville Community Center, 5 Municipal Dr.

– Precinct 30 at Jacksonville Community Center.

– Precinct 32 at Jacksonville Community Center.

– Precinct 33 at Jacksonville Community Center.

– Precinct 34 at St. Jude’s Catholic Church, 2403 McArthur Dr.

– Precinct 35 at Chapel Hill Baptist Church, 1409 Madden Rd.

– Precinct 36 at First Baptist Church, 401 N. First St.

– Precinct 37 at First Presbyterian Church, 1208 Main St.

– Precinct 38 at Jacksonville Boys & Girls Club, 1 Boys Club Dr.

– Precinct 44 at Jacksonville Community Center.

– Precinct 45 at Jacksonville Boys & Girls Club.

– Precinct 46 at Berea Baptist Church, 104 East Valentine.

– Precinct 47 at Berea Baptist Church.

– Precinct 48 at Berea Baptist Church.

For Absentee Ballot information or voter registration questions, call the Pulaski County Clerk’s Office at 340-8683.