Edwards wins tight County Judge race, Helder wins new term as sheriff (Updated)

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 380 views 

"An outdated system" delayed vote counts Tuesday night in Washington, while Benton County also saw delays. But after midnight, all candidates knew how they fared. Republicans swept the contested state legislative races in Northwest Arkansas.

Washington County's complete, unofficial election results were released at 2:48 a.m. Wednesday. "Glitches" in early vote ballots caused delays in their counting Tuesday night, said Peter Loris, a Washington County election commissioner, adding, "We were trying to overcome an outdated system." At 12:10 a.m. Wednesday, election officials finally released some results – they had all Election Day tallies and electronic early votes but had not cleared about 3,500 paper early votes, Loris said. Partial results of those 3,500, indicating final tallies for some races, were announced 45 minutes later. Remaining results were worked on through the early morning.

Democratic incumbent Washington County Judge Marilyn Edwards ended up defeating her Republican opponent Jeff Williams, the county assessor, by 909 votes, 27,141 to 26,232, 50.9% to 49.1%. Republican Mort Marshall lost about 2-to-1 against Democratic incumbent Sheriff Tim Helder, 17,131 to 36,165, or 32.1% to 67.9%.

Washington County has 114,901 registered voters. The ballots cast totaled 54,754, a 47.7% turnout. (See a list of Benton and Washington county election results at the end of this story.)

"I will continue to serve the people of Washington County with dignity and respect," Edwards said just after 1 a.m., noting her 45 years in public service. She said she spent 26 years as county clerk (after working several years in local government as an employee) then three two-year terms in the state House, she said. This will be her fourth two-year term as county judge. "I will tell you that this will be my last term."

A message requesting comment was left on Williams's phone.

Marshall wished Helder well in his new term.

"Lots of folks wanted me because they wanted to see some change," Marshall said. "But 67% wanted to keep Sheriff Helder so I'm going to have to respect that. I wish him well."

"It certainly was a taxing campaign in that you're trying to do that and trying to do your job," Helder said. "I'm grateful for our support and our great employees. I'm excited and very pleased. We're planning to continue our path. We made some significant changes early on [in the current term], and we'll continue on that path."

Benton County has 127,008 registered voters. Unofficially, 62,568 votes were cast, a 49.3% turnout, according to results released at 12:01.

Republicans swept the four contested Arkansas House races in Northwest Arkansas, with Reps. Bob Ballinger and Jim Dotson easily winning re-election.

District 93
Rep. Jim Dotson (R): 70.52%
Leah Williams (D): 29.48%

District 94
Rebecca Petty (R): 57.4%
Grimsley Graham (D): 42.6%

District 96
Grant Hodges (R): 59.37%
Tom McClure (D): 35.55%
Michael Kalagias (Libertarian): 5.08%

District 97
Rep. Bob Ballinger (R): 58.04%
Charles Carter (D): 41.96%

Following are complete but unofficial tallies as of late Tuesday of the main contested races. The spelling, any titles and name order is how candidates appeared on ballots.

Key municipal races included positions on the Fayetteville and Springdale city councils. Some races have more than two candidates. A relatively recent state law changed how runoff elections are determined for municipal races, Washington County Elections Coordinator Jennifer Price said Wednesday. The law was approved in 2011 and went into effect for elections beginning in 2012.

As before, in city races with three or more candidates, a winner is declared who has more than 50% of the vote. In addition, Price said, if the top candidate has more than 40% and the next-highest candidate trails by more than 20%, no runoff is needed. The runoff election date is Tuesday, Nov. 25. Early voting begins Nov. 18.

Fayetteville City Council Ward 1, Position 1
Adella Gray: 1,661, 36.7%
Paul Phaneuf: 1,759, 38.8
Sonia Davis Gutierrez: 1,110, 24.5
A runoff election will be set between Gray and Phaneuf.

Fayetteville City Council Ward 2, Position 1
Robert Patton: 982, 27.5%
Joshua Crawford: 828, 23.2
Mark A. Kinion: 1,759, 49.3
Kinion was declared the winner.

Fayetteville City Council Ward 4, Position 1
D'Andre L. Jones: 672, 14.3%
Craig M. Honchell: 376, 8.0
Robert Williams: 240, 5.1
John S. LaTour: 2,006, 42.6
Phillip McKnight: 447, 9.5
Ray M. Boudreaux: 963, 20.5
LaTour was declared the winner.

Springdale Alderman Ward 1, Position 1 (combining Washington and Benton county precincts)
Bob Caudle: 4,048, 37.3%
Jim Reed: 6,805, 62.7

Springdale Alderman Ward 3, Position 1 (combining Washington and Benton county precincts)
Rick Culver: 5,995, 54.6%
Councilman Bradley Bruns: 4,992, 45.4

The Washington County Quorum Court had these seats contested. The first number is votes and the second percentage. Due to rounding, percentages may not add to 100 %.

Justice of the Peace District 4
Yessie Hernandez, D: 314, 33.2%
Wm. Bill Ussery, R: 633, 66.8

Justice of the Peace District 7
Kendra Boyle, D: 1,596: 37.2%
Justice of the Peace Rick Cochran, R: 2,692, 62.8

Justice of the Peace District 8
Armistead C. Freeman III, R: 1,488, 44.7%
Daniel William Balls, D: 1,844, 55.3

Justice of the Peace District 10
James Miller, D: 1,334, 41.7%
Robert Dennis, R: 1,869, 58.4

Justice of the Peace District 13
Joel Maxwell, R:  2,423, 64.4%
Rhonda Hulse, D: 1,341, 35.6

Justice of the Peace District 14
Jim Renfrow, R: 1,963, 46.6%
Justice of the Peace Ann Harbison, D: 2,252, 53.43

In Benton County, key races included positions on the Bentonville and Rogers city councils.

Bentonville Alderman Ward 1, Position 1
Stephanie Orman: 4,648, 56.5%
Michael Williams: 1,518, 18.4
Jon Cavness: 2,065, 25.1
Because Orman won more than 50 % of the general election vote, a runoff is not necessary.

Bentonville Alderman Ward 1, Position 2
John A. Skaggs: 4,776, 58.3%
Chad Yoes: 3,422, 41.7

Bentonville Alderman Ward 2, Position 1
Tim Robinson: 4,504, 55.1%
Alderman Roger Thomas: 3,668, 44.9

Bentonville Alderman Ward 2, Position 2
Alderman Chris W. Sooter: 5,618, 67.8%
Shane Miller: 2,672, 32.2%

Bentonville Alderman Ward 3, Position 1
Craig Soos: 3,842, 47.1%
Alderman James L. Smith: 4,318, 52.9

Bentonville Alderman Ward 3, Position 2
Alderman W.P. "Bill" Burckart: 4,088, 48.8%
Bryan Bennett: 1,268, 15.1
Kristy Reed: 3,017, 36.0
Burckart was declared the winner.

Bentonville Alderman Ward 4, Position 1
Octavio Sanchez: 5,013, 60.5%
Burton B Head: 3,270, 39.5

Bentonville Alderman Ward 4, Position 2
Jim Webb: 3,868, 47.5%
Alderman Jim Grider: 2,965, 36.4
Anthony Ciabattari: 1,314, 16.1
Once the Nov. 4 results are certified, a runoff election will be set between Webb and Grider.

Rogers Alderman Ward 3, Position 1
Alderman W. Clay Kendall: 5,662, 55.9%
Keith Jackson: 4,470, 44.1

Rogers Alderman Ward 4, Position 1
Antonio Christopher Covington: 708, 6.7%
Carrie Perrien Smith: 3,600, 34.1
Carlos Chicas: 2,778, 26.3
Sam Jeffery: 3,462, 32.8
Once the Nov. 4 results are certified, a runoff election will be set between Perrien Smith and Jeffery.