General Election Results Reviewed

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Over 75 percent of registered voters in Clay County cast ballots in last week's mid-term election. According to numbers released by the Clay County Clerk's Office, and election commission, a total of 4,185 of the 5,556 registered voters cast a ballot. Of those, 21 provisional, 65 absent and 1,868 early ballots were cast—although the results are still unofficial.

There were several statewide races on the ballot, although only one county-wide race was decided. That race pitted incumbent assessor Tracy Gurley, of Piggott, against challenger Erika Snow, of Rector. Bucking the trend of favoring Republican candidates across the ballot, Gurley gained re-election as a Democrat by a tally of 2,197 to 1,943. Otherwise, the remaining county officials were not challenged and will be serving another term in office.

In the race for State Representative, incumbent Joe Jett, of Success, held-off challenger Ryan Carter, of Corning, by a margin of 3,097 (74.55 percent) to 1,057 (25.45 percent). Jett had been re-elected as a Democrat two years ago, but switched parties prior to the start of the legislative session. This prompted Carter, a newcomer to the political scene, to run as a Democrat.

There also were several local races decided, although one is headed for a run-off.

In the race for Mayor of Piggott, challenger Travis Williams, a member of city council the past two years, edged incumbent Jim Poole 680 to 552, or 55.19 to 44.81 percent.

Local voters also favored a change in the office of city clerk, as challenger Julie McMillon beat incumbent Ramona Magee 655 (53.51 percent) to 569 (46.49 percent).

The residents of North Ward will also be getting a new city councilman, as challenger Kevin Jones beat incumbent Mike Cook by a wide margin, 775 to 450.

Meanwhile, the other council race will be decided in a run-off on Dec. 4, as incumbent Jamey Parks will face challenger Brent Sanders. In the General Election, Parks received 590 votes, Sanders got 568 and the third candidate, Jimmy Chilcutt, got the remaining 64 votes to force a run-off.

The only other local contested races included the one for mayor St. Francis, as incumbent Teressa Johnson squeaked-by challenger Charles Conley 28 to 27. Meanwhile, in the race for Payne and Swain Constable it was Chip O'Connor over Jase Speer 58-35.

In the statewide races, Clay County favored Rick Crawford for re-election as First District Congressman with 3,128 votes while Democratic challenger Christian Desai garnered 842 votes and Libertarian Elvis Presley received 90 votes.

Meanwhile, Gov. Asa Hutchinson was favored as he was re-elected, as he got 3,218 votes in Clay County compared to 782 for Democratic challenger Jared K. Henderson and 132 for Libertarian Mark West.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge carried Clay County as she was re-elected, polling 2,983 votes while Democratic challenger Mike Lee got 1,019 and Libertarian Kerry Hicks garnered 111 votes.

Commissioner of State Lands John Thurston was favored in the county as he was elected Secretary of State, as he polled 2,984 votes compared to 1,014 for Democratic challenger Susan Inman and 118 for Libertarian challenger Christopher Olsen.

Republican Dennis Milligan was also favored for re-election as state treasurer, beating Libertarian challenger Ashley Ewald in Clay County 3,269 to 784. State Auditor Andrea Lea, a Republican, was favored over Libertarian challenger David E. Dinwiddie 3,303 to 732. And, Republican Tommy Land carried Clay County in his quest to replace Thurston as Land Commissioner. He polled 2,741 votes compared to 1,218 for Democratic challenger Larry Williams' and 137 for Libertarian candidate T.J. Campbell.

Clay County also favored Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson for re-election, as she carried the county over challenger David Sterling 2,381 to 1,556.

Clay County residents also favored passage of all five of the issues on the ballot, although votes were only counted on three of those. The tally on Issue One was 1,922 to 1,574, while the total only Issue Two was 3,520 to 573, the total on Issue Three was 2,726 to 939; the vote on Issue Four was 2,434 to 1,662 and the vote on Issue Five was 2,838 to 1,267.

One Western District race which drew a lot of attention was for Mayor of Corning, with challenger Greg Ahrent avoiding a run-off with 441 votes, or 50.75 percent. Rounding out the field were Mickey Hollis with 264 votes, Bob Fry with 125 while incumbent Mayor Rob Young received 39 votes in his effort to seek a second term in office. Meanwhile, J'Anna Couch won the three-way race for Corning City Clerk, as she received 429 votes as compared to Leah Kilbreath's 222 and Kelly J. Mahan's 215.

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