Runion wins in three-way race for Sebastian County Sheriff, election night good for county incumbents

by Aric Mitchell ( 918 views 

Hobe Runion, the Sebastian County Deputy Sheriff in retiring Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck’s administration — won around 60% of the vote against his two opponents, also Republicans. The win means Runion will automatically become the next Sebastian County Sheriff since no Democrats filed to fill the void left by Hollenbeck.

Incumbents also had a good night in the Sebastian and Crawford County races as two officeholders— Assessor Zach Johnson and Tax Collector/Treasurer Judith Miller — cruised to victories.

The only race that didn’t directly reflect on an incumbent was the County Judge race between Democrats Mosie Boyd and Ken Blevins. Boyd defeated Blevins with approximately 66% to his 34% of the vote. Boyd will face incumbent County Judge David Hudson in November, while Miller will face Democrat challenger Jeannie Wilson later this year.

Johnson’s victory over Clem, also a Republican, means he has secured the Assessor position for another term. Johnson won by the largest margin of victory on Tuesday (May 22) with 75% to Clem’s 25%.

The two most heated races, however, were Boyd-Blevins and Miller-Hotz. Boyd’s campaign launch in March specifically targeted Blevins’ history of harassment allegations. Blevins ignored most of the attacks and instead focused his efforts on Judge Hudson, whom he alleges was behind the allegations in an effort to wrest control of Blevins’ department when Blevins served as Sebastian County Circuit Clerk in 2011.

Speaking of her “apparent” victory late Tuesday night — not all precincts were reporting — Boyd told Talk Business & Politics that “All glory goes to God.”

“I’m grateful to Sebastian County voters for their support, and I want to thank everyone who helped make this apparent victory possible.” Boyd said she was “looking forward to November.”

“I’m looking forward to listening to our elected officials and working as a team to solve our community’s serious drug problem. Together with our Sheriff, our law enforcement teams, faith community leaders and service providers, we can adopt the ‘Don’t Shoot’ and Drug Market Intervention strategies to effectively reduce crime, reduce costs, and reduce incarceration.”

Boyd said the teamwork strategies “can be used to improve school safety as well.”

The Miller-Hotz race was a rematch from 2016, and the outcomes were similar. Miller previously defeated the Sebastian County Human Resources Director with 59% of the vote, while Tuesday’s contest broke along those same lines with Miller receiving 60% to Hotz’ 40% in spite of Hotz increasing pressure and scrutiny surrounding Miller’s management of excess commission funds.

Hotz charged Miller with hoarding funds that could have been going to city and school entities. Miller argued she had done nothing wrong pursuant to Arkansas Code Annotated 21-6-305(2)(A). On Tuesday night, Miller told Talk Business & Politics she was grateful to Sebastian County voters, requesting they “keep supporting me in the November election.”

In the three-way Sheriff’s race, Runion managed to secure more than enough votes to win the position without the need for a runoff. His closest competition was former Fort Smith Police Officer Jarrard Copeland, who received 26% of the vote while Randy McFadden secured just 14%. Calls for comment from the other candidates on Tuesday night were not returned.

As of 10:38 p.m., Crawford County, which reports results to the Arkansas Secretary of State website, did not have any results available. A call to the County Clerk’s office revealed that current Crawford County Clerk Teresa Armer-Cobbe had received 74% support from the absentee ballots.