Early Voting Continues, Primary and School Election Tuesday
Early voting for the upcoming preferrential primary, and non-partaisan school board elections, continues through Monday, May 21. Early voting may be done at the Clay County Clerk's office in either the Piggott or Corning courthouses, and extended hours are being observed. 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.
Statewide primary battles include Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Jan Morgan for the GOP nomination for governor while Jared Henderson and Leticia Sanders vie for the Democratic nomination. There is also a primary race for the Republican candidacy for Secretary of State as State Rep. Trevor Drown is facing Arkansas Commissioner of State Lands John Thurston. An especially contentious race for Arkansas Supreme Court has also developed between Courtney Hudson-Goodson, Kenneth Hixson and David Sterling. All the other statewide races will be decided in the fall.
On the regional scene, 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 Clay County 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, in November 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 Tuesday's May primary.
Of the three districts, only one has a seat contested as Piggott patrons will chose between incumbent Bradley Dunlap and challenger Tom Powell, both of Piggott. Dunlap is wrapping up his first term on the board. Powell is the husband of current Piggott superintendent Charnelsa “Charlie” Powell, who is under contract through June although she was relieved of her duties in early May of last year.
On the other hand, 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.
Meanwhile, State Rep. Joe Jett, of Success, has drawn a Democratic challenger for the fall and will be opposed by Ryan Carter of Corning. Jett, a former USAF member and retired farmer, is seeking his fourth term while Carter is a political newcomer and ASU student who works at the Corning Walmart.
The clerk's office will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 19. Early voting will then continue from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, May 21. The polls will be open the following day at the usual locations. Clay County Clerk Pat Poole also reminds voters that due to the recent Arkansas Supreme Court ruling, all voters must show an ID to cast a regular ballots. Those without ID will be allowed to vote, but will be required to cast a provisional ballot at the polls.
Those wanting additional information, or to check their registration status, may call the clerk's office in Piggott at 598-2813.