story by Ryan Saylor
Municipal candidate filings drew to a close at noon Friday (Aug. 15) and a large number of candidates have filed to run for positions ranging from city council to mayor in cities across Crawford and Sebastian Counties.
Municipal elections across the two counties will take place on the same day as the general election, Nov. 4.
Candidates who filed were required to turn in signatures of 30 registered voters in their respective wards or cities, depending on the office which they were seeking.
Filing for offices began July 25 and were open for three weeks.
In the race for Alma mayor, former State Rep. Ed Thicksten and Keith Greene announced their candidacies within the last two weeks. A third individual to show up on the ballot was Gary Perry.
All other positions up for re-election in Alma have no opposition. These include city clerk, where Crissy Inge will take office in Janurary; Ward 1, Position 1 Alderman John Tribulak; Ward 1, Position 2 Alderman Maria Washburn; Ward 2, Position 2 Alderman Edward L. Wakefield; Ward 3, Position 1 where John Ware will become alderman and Ward 3, Position 2 where Rinda Baker will also take office as an alderman in January.
Ward 2, Position 1 had no candidates file for the position and will be declared vacant and be appointed by the city council in January.
In the race for mayor, incumbent Doug Kinslow — who was elected mayor in a special election May 20 — is fighting to keep his new office against a challenge from Garry Campbell.
Kinslow's special election win on May 20 came after the city of nearly 10,000 suffered the resignation of Mayor Del Gabbard in January, followed by the incapacitation of Acting Mayor Jim Gossett in March due to an automobile accident, placing City Clerk and Treasurer Sharla Derry in charge of running the city on a day to day basis until Kinslow's election.
Should Campbell pull out a victory, he would be the fifth mayor of Greenwood in a year.
As for Derry, she said in April she had no desire to seek the mayor's office and held true to her word, instead running for re-election to her position unopposed.
Other races of interest in Greenwood include the Ward 2, Position 1 alderman race, where incumbent Richard "Lance" Terry is being challenged by Charles wayne Lowe and Ward 3, Position 1 where Jim Newcomb and A.C. Brown Jr. are vying for the open seat.
Ward 1, Position 1 was open and James Burges III will win the seat unopposed in November. City Attorney Michael Hamby will also win re-election to his position after no opponents challenged him.
The race for Mansfield mayor is open with four candidates vying for the city's top spot.
The candidates for mayor of the small Sebastian County city include Larry Austin, Keith Dedmon, Daniel Mayor and Ricky Gene Newman.
Races for city council are also seeing multiple candidates, which could result in a runoff in Ward 2, where three individuals are fighting for the Position 1 seat. They include incumbent Christi Salmeron, Tyna Martin and Nathan Sterling.
In Ward 1, Position 1, Alderman Geroganna Mabry faces Sandi Bertaux in the Nov. 4 general election.
Ward 3, Position 1 Alderman Rick McDaniel faces no opposition to his re-election.
Van Buren will only have two men vying for the top spot at city hall, with Mayor Bob Freeman facing a challenge from Alderman Max Blake.
City Attorney Candice Settle, City Clerk Barbie Curtis; Ward 1, Position 1 Alderman Mary Ann Dodd; Ward 1, Position 2 candidate James C. "Jim" Petty; Ward 2, Position 1 Alderman David Moore; and Ward 3, Position 1 Alderman Donna Parker are all running unopposed.
The only two opposed seats are Ward 2, Position 2 with Scott Curtis and Darrol Sparkman challenging each other for Blake's open seat and Ward 3, Position 2 where Alderman Johnny W. Ragsdale is facing a challenge from Alan Swaim.
Other cities and positions of note in Crawford and Sebastian Counties include:
Mayor – Ronald Norris, John Orick, Tony Strickland Sr., Mayor David Conley, and Elmer Nelson;
Ward 1, Position 1 Alderman – Patricia Norris and Bill Joe Collins;
Ward 1, Position 2 Alderman – Walter Slavens, Alderman Karen Littlejohn-Flores, and Paul Wise;
Ward 2, Position 1 Alderman – Johnny Wilson;
Ward 2, Position 2 Alderman – Lorie Grady;
Ward 3, Position 1 Alderman – Daniel Lunsford;
Mayor – Wayne Bentley, Darren Langley Jr., and Mayor Glenanna O'Mara;
Ward 1, Position 1 Alderman – Timothy Breshears;
Ward 1, Position 2 Alderman – Jonathan Odom;
Ward 2, Position 1 Alderman – Alderman David Clark Coombes, Kenneth (KC) McClendon, and William Brown;
Ward 2, Position 2 Alderman – Alderman Wendell Moore, Rogers Johnson, and Brenda Burner;
Mayor – Mayor Ralph Bryant, Douglas Coleman, Robert Dean III, Scott Dyer, Michael L. Harrison, and Neal Moon;
Ward 1, Position 1 Alderman – Open Seat;
Ward 1, Position 2 Alderman – Alderman Angela Rupp;
Ward 2, Position 1 Alderman – Michelle L. Henson;
Ward 2, Position 2 Alderman – Open Seat;
Ward 3, Position 1 Alderman – Open Seat;
Ward 3, Position 2 Alderman – Open Seat;
Mayor – Mayor Gary baxter and Herman E. Luper;
Ward 1, Position 1 Alderman – Sheila Chastain;
Ward 1, Position 2 Alderman – Stacy Muntz;
Ward 2, Position 1 Alderman – Elizabeth Jordan, Terry Lewis and Alderman Bobby Tweedy;
Ward 2, Position 2 Alderman – Alderman Johnny Ray Kimes, Robert Reeves, Daimien Rice;
Ward 3, Position 1 Alderman – Alderman Dottie Goodnoh; and
Ward 3, Position 2 Alderman – Alderman Jimmy Moore.