Elections end with changes for area's legislative offices

Ashley County voters have been casting early ballots since Oct. 19, but Tuesday marked the official Election Day, which included the Presidential election on the ballot. (VERSHAL HOGAN/News Observer)

While the United States held its collective breath into Wednesday to find out how the Electoral College vote would fall for the office of the President of the United States, most local races were decided in the unofficial numbers Tuesday night.

President Donald Trump faced his strongest challenge from former Vice President Joe Biden, and while the national vote was closer, in Ashley County the electorate strongly favored the incumbent President, giving him 70.3 percent of the vote with 5,540 ballots. Biden took 26.79 percent of the Ashley election with 2,119 votes, while Phil Collins came in a distant third with 44 votes and Kanye West took fourth with 43.

Looking at the races at home, the state legislature seats for the area saw change. Howard Beaty of Crossett took 52 percent of the vote with 5,329 casting ballots for him, while incumbent District 9 Rep. LeAnne Burch received 4,857 votes for approximately 48 percent of the vote.

In the Senate District 26 race, challenger Ben Gilmore led Tuesday evening with 17,696 votes to incumbent Sen. Eddie Cheatham’s 11,748. 

Former Rep. Mark McElroy narrowly edged ahead of current District 11 Rep. Don Glover with 4,843 votes to 4,779.

In State House District 8, Rep. Jeff Wardlaw had approximately 70 percent of the vote with 3,982 ballots in his favor, while challenger Christopher Ogburn had 1,694 votes. In that race, however, only 50 percent of areas had reported as of press time.

In Ashley County’s Aldermen races:

-In Crossett, Ward 3, Place 2, Alderman James Knight was re-elected, taking 1,112 votes to Christopher Friedman’s 830. 

-Crossett’s Ward 3, Place 1 race saw Alderman Cary Lee Carter defeat a challenge from Alyssia Le Wise, taking 1,169 votes to her 773.

-In Crossett’s Ward 2, Place 2 race, which had no incumbent, Chris Gill won 1,211 votes to Glendale Moore’s 740. 

-Fountain Hill’s alderman’s race saw Loretta Woods defeat Elizabeth Hubbard with 36 votes to 23 votes. 

-In Parkdale, Raymon Smith got 61 votes, beating out Bertha J. Sherrer’s 30 votes for the Ward 1, Place 1 seat.

The 10th Judicial District’s Division 1, Subdistrict 2 race went to Crews Puryear led with 9,199 of the 16,974 votes, while Crossett City Attorney James Hamilton claimed 7,775 votes.

Hamilton won Ashley County with 3, 206 votes to  Crews Puryear’s 2,524 votes. However, Hamilton lost in Drew County and Chicot County. Hamilton had approximately 200 less votes than Puryear in Chicot County and approximately 700 less in Drew County. Bradley and Desha Counties had not reported their numbers at press time.

Ashley County’s voters joined with those the state over in adopting Issue No. 1, which creates a dedicated highway tax. Ashley County voted 4,795 in favor of the tax, while 2,982 electors voted against it.

“Good roads are vital to the growth and success of our state, and tonight, Arkansas voters made that clear in passing Issue 1 by an overwhelming margin,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said after votes were counted statewide. 

“I’m delighted by the results, and I look forward to building better roads, a stronger economy, and a safer Arkansas in every corner of the state.”

Arkansas voters also adopted a constitutional amendment changing the state’s term limits laws, and rejected a proposal that would have changed how a voter initiative is placed on the ballot.

In Congressional elections, District 4 Rep. Bruce Western led his race with nearly 70 percent of the total vote, while Sen. Tom Cotton had approximately 68 percent.

There are 11,384 registered voters in Ashley County and 7,941 ballots were cast in this election. A report from county clerk Christy Martin reported that 5,476 citizens voted early, 647 voted via absentee ballot and 1,813 voted on Election Day. 

Ashley County had only five provisional votes.

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