Bridewell wins judge's race

Candidates or their surrogates did last-minute campaigning outside the Crossett Voting Center throughout the day Tuesday. The races on the ballot included two local judge's benches, state-level judicial races and partisan nominating primaries for the Democratic and Republican parties.

While the nation watched for Super Tuesday results to see who won additional delegates for the Democratic Presidential nomination, in southeastern Arkansas one judicial candidate was able to go to bed after apparently winning the campaign for the District 2 seat in the 10th Judicial District.

The other contested judicial race will go to a run-off.

Ashley County has a total of 11,083 registered voters, and 3,814 of those — approximately 34 percent — turned out to the polls. 

Ashley County Assistant Clerk Wanda Rush that in the 2016 presidential primary election approximately 3,800 people who showed up just in early voting, not counting Election day.

“We had more people just in the early voting numbers than we did in this entire election,” Rush said.

When it came to the voters’ choices, in the 10th Judicial District’s Division 2 race, Laurie Bridewell won outright with 52.30 percent of the unofficial votes totals. 

In all five counties the 10th JDC covers, 12,872 people cast votes, of which Bridewell received 6,732. Her opponents split the remainder of the vote, with Priscilla Abernathy receiving 2,137 and Frank Spain garnering 4,003 votes. 

In Ashley County Bridewell received 1,994 votes, Abernathy received 491 and Spain 1,238. Bridewell and Spain ran close races in Drew, Bradley and Ashley counties, but in Chicot County Bridewell had 1,629 votes to Spain’s 317 and in Desha County she had 1002 to his 588.

The 10th JDC’s Division 1 race will go on to a runoff between Crossett’s City Attorney James Hamilton and Prosecuting Attorney Crews Puryear. Of the 8,460 votes cast in the five counties, Puryear received 3,973 of those for 46.96 percent of the vote. 

Hamilton had 2,690 votes and Tim Leonard received 1,797. In Ashley County Leonard and Hamilton were close in number with Hamilton receiving 1,157 votes and Leonard receiving 902 votes. Puryear received 772 votes in Ashley County.

In the only strictly Ashley County race on the ballot,Rickey Nelms won the Justice of the Peace District 3 race with 179 votes to his opponent Sherri Nowlin Breshears’ total of 143 votes.

On the Republican primary ticket, Ben Gilmore won Ashley County by a landslide in the State Senate District 26 race, but also took approximately 51 percent of the total votes.

Gilmore received 1,727 Ashley County votes and his opponent Bill Dunklin received 736. In Bradley County Gilmore received 456 votes to Dunklin’s 430 and in Cleveland County saw Gilmore receive 295 and Dunklin 227. Dunklin led in the remaining counties, taking 839 votes to Gilmore’s 763 in Drew County and 444 to Gilmore’s 250 in Chicot County. Dunklin had 417 votes to Gilmore’s 135 in Deshea County. Dunklin received 605 votes in Lincoln County and Gilmore took 270, making the grand totals 3,896 for Gilmore and 3,700 for Dunklin.

In the nominating contest for the U.S. Presidential race, Sen. Bernie Sanders received 252 votes in Ashley County, which was 20.88 percent of the Democratic vote. Michael Bloomberg had 11 percent with a total of 133 votes. Former Vice President Joe Biden led Ashley County’s Democratic race with 633 votes.

President Donald Trump received 2,452 on the Republican ticket for 98.67 percent of the Republican votes cast in Ashley County. Bill Weld received 22 votes and Roque ‘Rocky’ De La Fuente received 11.

In the State Supreme Court Associate Justice race, Barbara Womack Webb received 50 percent of the votes in Ashley County over her opponent Judge Morgan ‘Chip’ Welch, who received 49 percent. 

At press time, Webb was leading the race with 54 percent of the entire state to Welch’s 46 percent, but only 82 percent of the state had reported according to the Secretary of State’s website.

In the Court of Appeals Associate Judge District 5 race, Court of Appeals Judge Mark Klappenbach won Ashley County with 55 percent of the total votes to his opponent James McMenis’ 44.78 percent. However, that race was only 75 percent reported throughout the entire state at press time.

A representative from the Ashley County Election Commission specified at press time that the Ashley County numbers were unofficial until verified by the state.

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