Incumbent county judge, sheriff hang onto seats
BERRYVILLE -- Sheriff Bob Grudek, County Judge Sam Barr and other county candidates won re-election Tuesday night, according to early and unofficial election results that were tallied in record time.
However, a computer problem in the tally process could change the initial results in the county clerk's race, Green Forest city races, and the Justice of the Peace District 8 contest.
During a review of election figures, discrepancies were discovered in Green Forest ward counts.
According to Election Coordinator Bethe Henley, paper ballots are run through the 650 counting machine. The count is copied onto a disk, which is hand-carried to her for input into a laptop. It was the disk, she said, that didn't "read right."
She said it will be re-read today, Friday, during an Election Commission public meeting that is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the county courthouse in Berryville.
The county clerk's race is the only county race that could be impacted by the outcome, she said, because the spread between the apparent winner, Jamie Correia, and her challenger, Charity Edwards, is 225 votes, or less than three percent. All other county incumbents appear to have won with a healthy margin of eight percent or more.
The JP District 8 race between Ronnie Blackburn and Shannan Griffith is separated by one vote. The "re-read" could affect the outcome, as could the arrival of an overseas ballot that is due within 10 days of the election.
Initial results show Republican Sheriff Bob Grudek won a third term with 54 percent of the vote. His challenger, Democrat John Bailey, captured 46 percent.
County Judge Sam Barr, a Democrat, was re-elected with nearly 58 percent. His opponent, Republican Andrew Wilhelm, carried 42 percent of the voting public's support.
Democrat County Clerk Jamie Correia appears to have retained her seat with 51 percent compared to 48.5 percent captured by Republican Charity Edwards.
Democrat Circuit Clerk Ramona Wilson survived a challenge from Republican contender Betty Neal with 58 percent of the vote.
Wilson said she was in the courthouse Tuesday evening when results were released.
She said "stunned" was the word to describe the response when election officials announced the winners around 10:30 p.m. -- far ahead of schedule. Wilson said she had taken a nap in preparation for a long night's wait so the early tally was welcome.
"There were no poll watchers and no media there," she said. "We were all amazed they were done so early. It was a good-feeling atmosphere the entire evening in the courtroom."
Wilson, who has served since she was first elected in 1998, said she appreciated the support of the voters who showed their continued trust in her.
There will be mayoral and city clerk run-off races in Eureka Springs where none of those candidates captured more than 50 percent of the vote.
The run-off election is set for Tuesday, Nov. 23. Early voting will start one week prior to the election.
Initial election results show Beverly Blankenship and Morris Pate, the two top vote getters, will face off in the mayoral run-off.
Pate captured 36 percent and Blankenship garnered nearly 26 percent.
Other contenders in the six-way mayoral race were Rachel Love with three percent; Sonny Carter with four percent; Joyce Zeller with 10 percent; and Jeff Jeans with 21 percent.
Incumbent City Clerk Mary Jean Sell will face off against challenger Ann Armstrong in a run-off after the two captured nearly the same amount of votes -- Sell at 323 and Armstrong at 332.
They were the top vote getters in a four-way race. Other contenders were Tori Sue Bush with 78 votes and Chuck Wofford with 118.
Apparent winners in Eureka were: Dean Kirkpartick, who wrestled the Ward 1, Position 1 alderman seat from incumbent Mickey Schneider with 52 percent of the vote; Ken Pownall, who won Patrick Brammer's Ward 1, Position 2 seat with 55 percent; and incumbent James DeVito, who staved off a challenge from Gregory Moon for his Ward 2, Position 1 seat with nearly 56 percent of the vote.
Eureka voters also chose to allow a deer hunt and to allow parking meters to remain in the historic district.
Long-time Mayor Tim McKinney was re-elected with 585 votes, or 52 percent, after surviving jail time and drug court following his second DWI and marijuana possession arrest in less than a year.
His challengers were Jason Williams, who captured 483 votes, and Brian Scheller with 59 votes.
Initial results show Nestor Rivera, (145 votes), won over incumbent Mike Miller, (123 votes), for the Ward 1, Position 2 seat.
Incumbent City Clerk/Treasurer Janelle Compton, with 73 votes, apparently lost a three-way race to Summer Fultz who came out on top with 175 votes. The other contender was Stacey Drake who took 29 votes.
Bill Niven, Jr., is the apparent winner in the Ward 2, Position 1 race with 177 votes, compared with 92 captured by Joe Pierce.
Pamela Norton is the apparent winner in the Ward 2, Position 2 alderman race with 83 percent of the vote compared to Tony Rocole's 17 percent.
Unofficial results for JP races are as follows:
District 1 - Jack Deaton 850, Harlos Barnum 545
District 2 - Frank Renner 552, Dan Mumaugh 629
District 4 - Todd Walker 279, Ron Flake 344
District 5 - Max Nichols 182, David Clark 368
District 7 - David Stoppel 262, John Reeve 425
District 8 - Ronnie Blackburn 215, Shannan Griffith 216
District 11 - Richard Williams 247, John Howerton 422
Bobby Graves won over Walter Followill for Osage Township and Clyde Thomas beat Kevin Teter at Polo.
Carroll Countains gave Republican John Boozman 62.45 percent of their vote and Blanche Lincoln 31.67 when deciding the U.S. Senate race.
Another Republican, Steve Womack, captured the win for the U.S. Congressional District 3 seat. His challenger, Democrat David Whitaker, received just shy of 38 percent of the Carroll County vote.
Democratic Governor Mike Beebe won here with 62 percent, Dustin McDaniel, another Democrat, won a repeat term as Attorney General with 66 percent of the vote.
Mark Darr, a Republican, won the Lieutenant Governor's seat, and Mark Martin, also a Republican, won the Secretary of State post.
In the race for State Treasurer, Democrat Martha Shoffner beat Green Party candidate Bobby Tullis, Democrat Charlie Daniels won Auditor of State and Republican John Thurston won Commissioner of State Lands, beating out Democrat L.J. Bryant.
A total of 8,103 ballots were cast election day, representing 57.77 percent of the county's 14,026 registered voters. Another 2,519 voted early, and 194 voted absentee.
Election Coordinator Henley said the commission has 15 days after the election to certify results. A date has not been set for certification.
She said election day voting went smoothly. There was a bit of excitement at the Berryville Community Center, she confirmed, where a purse had been left under a table.
Election workers, who were asked to be on the lookout because of a bomb incident at the Osage precinct last spring, noticed the unattended satchel, moved chairs away so no other voters could sit near, and phoned in their find.
Reports of a "swat team" or "bomb squad" converging on the center surfaced.
Authorities say it was the Tri-City Special Response Team -- in this instance, four uniformed Berryville Police officers who inspected and removed the purse, later returning it to its owner.
As for election eve tabulation, Henley said it ran smoothly, the 650 paper ballot counting machine performed "exactly as designed," and results were printed and distributed at 10:28 p.m.
"Everyone was in awe," she noted.
Carroll County election tabulations have been known to run into the early hours of the morning.