Contested Races Develop as Filing Deadline Passes
The filing deadline for the May Preferential Primary was Thursday, March 1, as the election season gets underway. There are no contested countywide races in the primary, although one race has developed for the fall as assessor Tracy Gurley has drawn a Republican challenger. There is one contested JP seat to be decided in the primary, while one of the constable races has drawn two candidates. One contested school board race will also be on the ballot.
One Clay County incumbent has filed for re-election, but is switching parties, as treasurer Carolyn Morrisett has filed as a Republican. Meanwhile, long-time coroner Paul Wayne Hoggard, of Piggott, has chosen not to seek re-election. Filing for the position was Jerrod Daniel Lowe, of Piggott, as a Republican. Lowe is a first-time candidate and also affiliated with Hoggard and Sons Funeral Home of Piggott.
Gurley, of Piggott, filed for re-election in the Democratic primary, and will face Erika Snow, of Rector, as she is running in the Republican primary for assessor.
Filing to run un-opposed for another term in the Democratic primary were county judge Mike Patterson, county sheriff and collector Terry Miller, county clerk Pat Poole and circuit clerk Janet Luff-Kilbreath.
Seven of the nine JPs have filed for re-election, while two Republicans will meet in the primary for District 9. That race will choose a replacement for long-time JP John Mansker, as both Robert Jackson and David Hatcher have filed as Republicans.
Meanwhile, no one has filed for the District 3 seat held by Mike Hill, of Greenway, which will see him continue to serve barring a resignation.
Those filing for re-election as Democrats included Richie Culver in District 1; Joseph C. “Jody” Henderson in District 2; David Cagle in District 4; John Jeffery Douglas in District 5 and Greg Ahrent in District 7. Dennis Haines has filed for re-election as a Republican for District 7 and Duane Blanchard has filed as a Republican for re-election from District 8.
Eastern District constable races include one contested race, while two others did not draw a candidate.
Running for constable from Payne and Swain are Chip O'Connor as a Republican and Jase Speer as an Independent. They'll be meeting in the fall General Election.
Meanwhile, the incumbents filing for re-election included Elmo Hollis from North St. Francis as a Republican; Todd Watson of East Oak Bluff as a Democrat; Terry Robertson of West Oak Bluff as a Republican; Mike Mansker of Bennett and Lemmons as a Democrat and Fred Hicks of Liddell and Chalk Bluff as an Independent. No one filed for the constable seats for Johnson and Knob.
There are also no contested races for constable in the Western District.
Due to a change in Arkansas law, school districts may now choose to hold their annual elections in conjunction with either the primary or General Election. As a result, all three of the county school districts will hold their annual elections in conjunction with the upcoming May primary.
Of the three districts, only one has a seat contested as Piggott patrons will chosen between incumbent Bradley Dunlap and challenger Tom Powell, both of Piggott. Meanwhile, Kim Isom is running unopposed for re-election to the Rector School Board and Keith Turner is seeking re-election to the Corning School Board without opposition.
As reported recently, State Rep. Joe Jett has drawn a Democratic challenger for the fall and will be opposed by Ryan Carter of Corning.
The deadline for registering to vote in the upcoming May primary is Monday, April 23, due to the fact April 22, falls on a Sunday. Early voting will begin on May 7, with the primary and school elections held on Tuesday, May 22.