Early Voting Set to Begin for March Primary
Early voting is set to begin Tuesday, Feb. 16 for the upcoming March 1, preferential primary election and two county wide races are set in Clay County. Local residents will also vote in three nonpartisan judge races, along with the presidential primaries. Normally, the early voting period would begin on Monday, but was pushed-back to Tuesday due to the President's Day holiday.
Former State Representative Mike Patterson, of Piggott, is facing Jeff Young, of Pollard, for Clay County Judge in the Democrat primary. Meanwhile, Sheriff Terry Miller, of Corning, has drawn opposition from the man he replaced as Gerald McClung, of Rector, has thrown his hat into the ring and they'll also meet in the Democratic primary.
Meanwhile, the remaining county elected officials all filed for re-election and will stand un-opposed in the Democratic primary. The incumbents include County Clerk Pat Poole, Circuit Clerk Janet Luff-Kilbreath, Treasurer Carolyn Morrisett, Assessor Tracy Gurley and Coroner Paul Wayne Hoggard.
As for the presidential candidates in the Democratic primary, they include, in the order they will appear-James Valentine, Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, John Wolfe and Martin J. O'Malley.
Meanwhile, those voting in the Republican primary will choose from Gov. Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Donald J. Trump, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, John R. Kasich and Carly Fiorina.
Although some of the candidates have dropped out of the presidential race, all those are included who met the state guidelines and were included in the ballot draw.
Voters are also reminded they may only vote in one primary, so those wanting to cast ballots in the local Democratic primary may not also vote in the GOP presidential primary. Separate ballots are provided for each based on Arkansas law.
Meanwhile, a total of eight of the nine JPs are running for re-election unopposed, including Richie Culver in district one, Mike Hill in district two, Jody Henderson in district three, David Cagle in district four, Jeff Douglas in district five, Dennis Haines in district six, Greg Ahrent in district seven and John Mansker in district nine. Meanwhile, Duane Blanchard is running as a Republican for the district eight seat which had been occupied by Jim Clifton, who had been appointed to fill-out an unexpired term.
Under state law an appointed JP cannot seek re-election to the seat unless no one else files to seek the position. This provision also allows Mike Hill to serve another term for district two, despite the fact he was filling out the unexpired term of the late Ryan Rogers.
Constables filing, and running unopposed, included Gary Dunlap at Pollard, Ricky Wyss for Payne and Swain, Mike Mansker of Bennett and Lemmons, Terry Ladd for Gleghorn and South Kilgore, James A. Clifton in Brown and Carpenter, Vernie Carpenter in Cleveland and North Kilgore and Elmo Hollis in North St. Francis.
Two Democrats have filed for constable from East Oak Bluff, as Todd Watson and Alan Cavanass will meet in the primary.
And, in West Oak Bluff Constable Fred Bucy is facing Farren Young in the Democratic primary, with the winner slated to meet Republican Terry Robertson in the General Election.
One of the nonpartisain races is for State Supreme Court Chief Justice, Position One, with Judge Dan Kemp facing State Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson. Another is for the State Supreme Court Associate Justice, Position Five, between Clark W. Mason and Judge Shawn A. Womack. The third is for Circuit Judge, District Two, Division Six, Subdistrict 2.1 between Tonya Alexander and Curtis Walker, Jr.
Beginning Tuesday, early voting will be going on from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, at the county clerk's offices in Piggott and Corning. Early votes may also be cast from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 29.
Those wanting additional information may call the clerk's office at 870 598-2813.