Vote discrepancy leaves Craighead County Judge race in question

by Michael Wilkey ([email protected]) 238 views 

Craighead County Election Commission chairman Jeannette Robertson said late Tuesday there was an 88-vote discrepancy in the electronic tabulation of a county judge’s race, throwing the race into chaos.

During a late night press conference, Robertson said a computer software problem led to the problem and officials will work with election company ES&S on what happened. Robertson said officials counted the numbers several times Tuesday night to get an accurate number, which also includes 16 provisional ballots.

The Craighead County Election Commission will meet Wednesday afternoon (March 2) to discuss the issue, but no time has been set.

In unofficial numbers, Republican Jeff Presley narrowly led fellow Republican Garry Meadows, 5,447 to 5,408 (50.2% to 49.8%). Robertson said the county judge’s race was the only race effected by the problem.

In other races, Republican Wes Eddington defeated Republican Andrew Stricklin 6,256 to 4,194 (59.9% to 40.1%) in the collector’s race. Eddington will face Democrat Marsha Phillips in November.

Attorney David Boling defeated incumbent District Judge Keith Blackman 9,137 to 8,029 (53% to 47%) in Division 1 while Circuit Judge Tommy Fowler defeated Scott Willhite 9,259 to 7,510 (55% to 45%) in Division 2.

In neighboring Greene County, it was a night for incumbents as two overwhelmingly won against fellow Republicans. Jan Griffith defeated Bridgett Davidson 4,532 to 1,066 (81% to 19%) in the circuit clerk’s race while Debbie Cross won the treasurer’s office, defeating Claude Graves 4,549 to 1,185 (79% to 21%) in official numbers. Griffith and Cross, who switched to the GOP during the November filing period, face no Democratic challenger in the fall.

To the north in Clay County, an incumbent sheriff won re-election while a new county judge was elected. In unofficial numbers, Sheriff/Collector Terry Miller defeated fellow Democrat Gerald McClung 1,979 to 457 (81.2% to 18.8%).

Also, former state Rep. Mike Patterson defeated Jeff Young 1,503 to 911 (62.2% to 37.8%) for the Democratic nod for county judge. Patterson will replace longtime County Judge Gary Howell, who did not seek re-election.

In Jackson County, there will be a runoff March 22 for the Republican nod for Sheriff. In official numbers, James Neeley and Jeff Grizzle will head to the runoff. Neeley had 593 votes, or 42%, followed by Grizzle with 567 votes or 41%. The winner of the runoff will face incumbent Democrat David Lucas in November.