Leader Blues

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

TOP STORY >> Lonoke County races competitive

By JOAN McCOY
Leader staff writer

The controversy over collecting state retirement while continuing to hold county office apparently continues to plague Lonoke County Treasurer Karol DePriest and Lonoke County Assessor Jerry Adams, who face opponents for re-election.

Both officials say they did nothing wrong, but the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System notified several officeholders this week that they have improperly collected retirement benefits without actually leaving office.

DePriest, a Democrat, is opposed by Dale Walker, a Republican. Walker was the director of finance in Cabot under former Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh, although Walk-er is no stranger to controversy.

The state audit from his last year on the job could not be completed. Although there was no allegation of wrongdoing, auditors said the city books were too confusing for them to complete their work.

Adams, a Democrat, has two opponents, Jim Bailey, a Democrat from Lonoke, and Jack McNally, a Republican from Cabot.

McNally was Stumbaugh’s campaign manager when he ran for mayor four years ago and later went to work for the city in code enforcement. He was laid off almost immediately when Cabot Mayor Eddie Joe Williams took office in 2007.

All three candidates for Lonoke County sheriff have been on the ballot before.

Sheriff Jim Roberson is the lone Republican, so he doesn’t have to worry about the May primary. But in November, he will face either Steve Rich or former Sheriff Charlie Martin, who have both filed as Democrats.

Rich, a former Lonoke County sheriff’s deputy, ran against Roberson two years ago. This will be Martin’s third attempt to win back his office from Roberson, who ran against Martin three times before he finally won almost eight years ago.

Martin was sheriff for six years. Much of his time since he lost to Roberson has been spent as chief of police in Ward.

“I believe I’ve got a shot,” said Martin, who filed Monday. “I’ve worked up here at Ward and we’ve been able to decrease crime.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me to run.”

Martin said he was considering a third race against Roberson two years ago when he had a stroke.

“The doctors tell me I’m in better shape now than I was 15 years ago,” he said. “It’s been a hard road back. But the therapists kept telling me they had to keep an eye on me because I was an over achiever. I didn’t know when to quit. That and by the grace of God. He’s helped this old country boy a lot.”
In other county races:

Lonoke County Judge Charlie Troutman, a Democrat, has a Republican opponent, Doug Erwin, an auctioneer from Austin.

Circuit Clerk Deborah Oglesby, a Democrat, is opposed by Republican Denise Brown. Brown works for Prosecutor Will Feland.

County Clerk Dawn Porterfield, a Democrat, is opposed by former JP Rita F. Schmitz, another Democrat, in the primary.

Schmitz last served on the quorum court in 1997.

Six of 13 members of the Lonoke County Quorum Court are unopposed: Tim Lemons, District 4; Barry Weathers, District 5; Adam Sims, District 7; Sonny Moery, District 9; Bill Ryker, District 10; Mike Dolan, District 11, and H.L. Lang, District 12.

Rep. Davy Carter (R-Cabot) on Monday filed for re-election in District 48.

Brothers Larry and Kenny Ridgeway, both Republicans and former justices of the peace, are running again. Larry Ridgeway faces Joe Farrer, another Republican, in May. The winner faces JP Jodie Grisham Troutman, a Democrat, in November.

Kenny Ridgeway has filed for the District 13 position held by Mark Edwards, also a Republican. The winner will be decided in the May primary.

In District 2, Jannette Minton is opposed by Gage B. Gilliam, the 18-year-old grandson of Cabot Alderman Ann Gilliam. Both candidates are Republican, so the race is over in May.

In District 3, longtime JP Larry Odom is opposed by Warren D. Leill. As in District 2, the race will be decided by the vote in the May primary. Both candidates are Republican.

The District 6 race also will be decided in May. Longtime JP Alexis Malham is opposed by Trent Eilts. Both are Republicans.?

In District 8, JP Roger Dale Lynch is opposed by former JP Richard Kyzer. Both candidates are Democrats.