GOP primary in place for Sebastian County Judge

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,095 views 

The 2022 campaign for Sebastian County Judge, the first open race for the county’s top job since 1998, will include a Republican primary. Former State Senator and Representative Denny Altes and Sebastian County Treasurer/Collector Steve Hotz will be on the GOP primary ballot.

Sebastian County Judge David Hudson is not seeking re-election for the job he has held since 1998.

Altes announced Friday (Feb. 25) he is running for the office, setting up the contest with Hotz in the May 24 primary. The filing period ends March 1. To date, no Democrat has announced for the office.

“Over the last forty years, I have worked hard at building, operating, and managing businesses that have served this great county,” Altes noted in a statement. “From being a CEO, to serving in the legislature, to leading in our local church, I believe that leadership matters. I’m ready to lead this county.”

Altes, who describes himself as a “Christian Conservative Republican Patriot,” resigned in early 2017 as the Arkansas’ drug director to run in a special election for what was then the Senate District 8 seat that included Fort Smith. He would lose in that primary to Frank Glidewell who captured 65% of the vote.

Altes served in the House of Representatives from 1999-2003 and represented Senate District 13 from 2003 to 2011. He returned to the House of Representatives in 2011 and represented the 76th District until January 2015. Altes has also served two stints with the Sebastian County Quorum Court. Altes said in his statement that he has been CEO of several companies managing multi-million-dollar budgets and more than 150 employees.

“Let’s elect true conservatives up-and-down the ballot. I promise I will work hard to build rapport to make government more accountable and help our people meet their needs and be better stewards of all that God has given us. I’m asking for your vote,” Altes noted in the Friday announcement.

Hotz announced for the job in October 2021. Hotz is the Treasurer/Collector after being appointed by Hudson and confirmed by the Quorum Court in December 2019 following the resignation of Judith Miller. He is not eligible to run for re-election as Treasurer/Collector the office because he was appointed.

Hotz has 25 years of business experience and 10 years of experience in county government, including director of human resources for the county. He earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Arkansas.

Hotz told Talk Business & Politics he is the “only candidate with the credentials and experience who can assume the position of Sebastian County Judge and hit the ground running.”

“Besides my many years of business management experience, including 17 years of business ownership, I also have 10+ years of Sebastian County experience. Eight of those years were in the County Judge’s Office as the Director of Human Resources. During that tenure I worked closely with the County Judge on many projects, including the upgrade of the county’s health benefits which not only improved the benefits for the employees, but saved the taxpayers millions of dollars over the years,” Hotz said.