story by Ben Pollock, special to The City Wire
Benton County Judge Bob Clinard won handily in Tuesday's Republican primary. If the certified results are similar, no run-off will be needed.
Clinard had 10,318 or 61.1% with all precincts in, Ronnie Smith earned 4,802 votes or 28.4% and Dale King 1,776 votes or 10.5%. There is no Democratic opposition, so Clinard is to continue in office.
"I am very very happy to be voted in for a third term," Clinard told The City Wire. "I will do everything I can to help the taxpayers get the most services for their money."
Of his opponents he said, "You have to have a tremendous amount of management experience to be the county executive. You can't just focus on roads. You have to be a business manager."
Clinard said roads comprise about half of his responsibilities, with other county departments such as facilities, buildings, information technology and so forth the remainder.
"We're going to do the best we can to improve our roads. That is our first priority," he said. "Another huge issue in the next two to three years will be a new court facility for Benton County."
In final but uncertified tallies, the race for Washington County assessor saw Russell Hill winning with 6,753 votes or 67.8%, and Joshua Leon Crawford with 3,207 votes or 32.2%. There are no Democratic candidates for assessor. The current assessor, Republican Jeff Williams, is running for county judge in November against incumbent Democrat Marilyn Edwards.
"I am thankful to the voters," Hill said late Tuesday. "I believe Jeff Williams has done a fantastic job. I will follow in that direction, to make sure everything is funded the way it should be. Right now I need to 'go to school' and learn. I have seven months to learn about the position, on my own dime in my own time."
Hill owns a small business, The Hill Group, a freight brokerage. He said he will be doing "double duty" with it and spending time in the assessor's office the rest of the year. When he begins the job in January, others will run his firm.
In the non-partisan, contested races for judgeships in Arkansas' Fourth Circuit – comprising Washington and Madison counties – incumbent Division 3 (juvenile court) Judge Stacey Zimmerman won with 10,811 votes or 60.1%, over Lisa Parks with 7,181 votes or 39.9%.
For Division 1 Circuit Court, Doug Martin (currently interim Division 2 circuit judge) won with 11,775 votes or 69%, over Brian Lester with 5,296 votes or 31%.
The longtime, Division 1 circuit judge, William Storey, ran Tuesday instead for Fayetteville District Court, where he won with 4,781 votes or 67.3%, over Tim Snively with 2,327 votes or 32.7%.
QUORUM COURT PICKS
In races for Washington County Quorum Court, District 7 Justice of the Peace Rick Cochran won with 516 votes or 64.9% over James Maynard with 279 votes or 35.1% in the GOP primary. The winner will face Democrat Kendra Boyle in the Nov. 4 general election.
In the county's District 10, Robert Dennis won with 466 votes or 87.3% over Pedro R. Fimbres with 68 votes or 12.7% in the Republican primary. The winner will face Democrat James Miller in November.
The Benton County Quorum Court also had contested seats in the Republican primary.
Incumbent District 1 Justice of the Peace Mike McKenzie came in second place with 430 votes or 29.4%. Ron Easley had the top spot with 522 votes or 35.7%, facing McKenzie in a runoff. Elizabeth Bowen received 335 votes or 22.9% and Mary Gardner had 175 votes or 12%. There are no Democrats running for District 1 JP.
JP Tom Allen was re-elected to the District 4 Quorum Court seat with 78.5% of the vote, compared to Clell Alden who garnered 21.45%.
Runoffs in Arkansas are June 10, with early voting beginning June 3. Runoff elections are held in races where no candidate has more than 50% of the vote.
In Benton County's District 4, Tom Allen had 923 votes or 78.6% while Clell Alden had 252 votes or 21.4%. The seat has no Democratic candidates.
Voter turnout in Washington County was 17.1%. In Benton County, 16.9% of its registered voters cast ballots.