It may not be like Churchill Downs or even Oaklawn, but judicial candidates will be off to the races next week as the 2016 campaign formally starts.
Judicial candidates can file by petition, starting at noon on Thursday, Sept. 10 and ending at noon on Thursday, Sept. 17. The candidates can also file by paying a filing fee during the Nov. 2 – Nov. 9 filing period for federal, state and county races.
Next year, voters will decide two Arkansas Supreme Court, four Arkansas Court of Appeals and 19 circuit judge races. In addition, 54 state and 38 local district judge races will be decided.
While the filing period has not started, several candidates have announced their intention to run.
Justice Courtney Goodson announced Wednesday that she will be running for Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice. The current chief justice, Howard Brill, was appointed last month by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to fill the unexpired term of Chief Justice Jim Hannah. Hannah resigned in August, due to health reasons.
Circuit Judge and former state legislator Shawn Womack has announced he will be running for the Position 5 seat on the court. Current Justice Paul Danielson said earlier this year that he would not seek another 8-year term in office.
For the Arkansas Court of Appeals, Circuit Judge Mike Murphy of Conway announced he would seek the District 2, Position 2 seat on the court. The seat is currently held by Judge Cliff Hoofman, who was appointed by then-Gov. Mike Beebe and cannot run for the office.
According to published reports, attorney Mark Klappenbach of Fordyce announced earlier this year that he would run for the District 5 seat, held by Judge Mike Kinard, who was also appointed by Beebe and cannot run for the seat.
Other Court of Appeals races include District 6, Position 1, which is held by incumbent Rita W. Gruber; and District 7, which is held by incumbent Waymond M. Brown.
According to a list provided by the Arkansas State Board of Election Commissioners, the following circuit judge seats are also up for grabs in 2016:
· District 1, Division 1 – L.T. Simes of West Helena.
· District 1, Division 4 – Kathleen Bell of Helena.
· District 2, Division 2 – Tommy Fowler of Jonesboro. Fowler was appointed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to fill the unexpired term of Circuit Judge Lee Fergus, who passed away earlier this year.
· District 2, Division 6 – Victor Hill of West Memphis.
· District 4, Division 5 – Beth Bryan of Fayetteville.
· District 4, Division 7 – Joanna Taylor of Fayetteville.
· District 5, Division 4 – Dennis Sutterfield of Russellville.
· District 6, Division 1 – Leon Johnson of Little Rock.
· District 6, Division 5 – Wendell Griffen of Little Rock.
· District 6, Division 12 – Alice Gray of Little Rock.
· District 10, Division 4 – Don Glover of McGehee.
· District 10, Division 5 – Teresa French of McGehee.
· District 11-West, Division 1 – Berlin Jones of Pine Bluff.
· District 11-West, Division 4 – Leon Jamison of Pine Bluff.
· District 12, Division 2 – Annie Hendricks of Fort Smith.
· District 12, Division 3 – Jim Spears of Fort Smith.
· District 13, Division 1 – Hamilton Singleton of Camden.
· District 13, Division 2 – Mike Landers of El Dorado.
· District 16, Division 2 – Holly Meyer of Batesville. Meyer was appointed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to fill the unexpired term of Circuit Judge John Adam Harkey of Batesville, who resigned earlier this year for health reasons.
The judicial general election is March 1, while the judicial runoff is Nov. 8.