Democrats filed more candidates for Washington County slots

Posted: March 4, 2018 at 1:10 a.m.

FAYETTEVILLE -- More Democratic candidates -- especially women -- are challenging Republican incumbents in local races, said Will Watson, vice chairman for candidate recruitment for the Washington County Democratic Party.

The candidate filing period ended Thursday.

Ballot draw

The Washington County Election Commission will hold a ballot draw at 9 a.m. Friday in Room 115 in the Washington County Courthouse for candidates in the Democrat and Republican party primaries, the nonpartisan judicial general election and the school board election, all of which are May 22.

Source: Washington County Election Commission

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"It's really inspiring to be part of a movement that has led to a lot more people running," Watson said.

Nine women filed as Democrats to run for county positions -- that includes two countywide seats and seven seats on the Quorum Court.

Democrats also filed to run against Republican incumbents, including county judge, treasurer, assessor and five justice of the peace seats.

The "wave" of Democratic candidates is part of a national trend and a backlash against the political climate since President Donald J. Trump was elected, said Tyler Clark, Washington County Democratic Party chairman.

This is the first time many of these candidates have run for office, Watson said.

"There is so much energy right now to make change at the state, local and national level that it wasn't difficult to find people willing to at least have a conversation about running," Watson said.

Voting alone isn't enough, Clark said. People are becoming more engaged in politics since the 2016 election, he said.

"Men, women alike are deciding their government is not working for them, and they are wanting to change that," Clark said.

One new Democratic candidate will become a member of the Quorum Court without having her name appear on the ballot or running a campaign. No one filed to run against Shawndra Jones, who filed to represent northern Fayetteville. Daniel Balls, a Democrat, decided not to run for re-election.

A change in state law means unopposed candidates' names will not be on the primary or general election ballots. Those candidates will be elected automatically and sworn into office next January. That excludes school board elections.

Two countywide positions held by incumbent Democrats, Sheriff Tim Helder and Coroner Roger Morris, also are uncontested. Collector Angela Wood, a Republican, did not draw an opponent.

On the 15-member Quorum Court, only incumbent Democrats Eva Madison, representing northeastern Fayetteville, and Joe Kieklak, representing southern Fayetteville, are unopposed in the primary and general elections.

Five justice of the peace seats are open for completely new candidates.

Besides Balls, Tom Lundstrum and Joe Patterson decided not to run for re-election. Lundstrum and Patterson are Republicans representing northwestern and northeastern Washington County.

The governor appointed Alicia Deavens and Fred Rausch, both Republicans, to seats left open last year after two justices of the peace resigned. Deavens represents the area west of Farmington, and Rausch represents western Springdale. Neither can seek re-election under state law.

Democrat Coy Bartlett and Republican Sam B. Duncan have filed for Deavens' seat. Democrat Margaret Lyndsey Strange and Republican Susan Cunningham filed for Rausch's seat.

Lance C. Johnson, a Republican, will face Shari E. Reed, a Democrat, in November for Lundstrum's open seat.

The County Clerk's Office reported no write-in candidates.

Two races will be contested at the primary election May 22. Justice of the Peace Joel Maxwell, a Republican who represents western Washington County, will face Republican candidate Willie E. Leming, of Lincoln. Maxwell lives near Cincinnati.

Republican candidates Denny Upton and Patrick Deakins, both of Springdale, will square off for Patterson's position. The winner will face Democratic candidate Dana Reynolds, of Springdale, in November.

Most incumbent justices of the peace will face competition during the general election.

Harvey Bowman, a Republican representing north Springdale, will face Democratic candidate Andrew Gaber. Justice of the Peace Bill Ussery, a Republican representing northeastern Springdale, will face Judith A. Yanez, a Democrat. Lisa Ecke, a Republican representing southeastern Springdale, will face Democrat Jessica Stone. Robert Dennis, a Republican representing Farmington, will face Democrat Andrea Jenkins. Sue Madison, a Democrat representing southeastern Fayetteville, will face Republican Todd Crane. Ann Harbison, a Democrat representing southern Washington County, will face Jim Wilson, a Republican. Butch Pond, a Republican representing eastern Washington County, will face Democrat Quinn Childress.

In countywide races, County Clerk Becky Lewallen, a Republican, will face Emily Sledge, a Democrat; Circuit Clerk Kyle Sylvester, a Republican, will face Adrienne Kvello, a Democrat; County Judge Joseph Wood, a Republican, will face Jim House, a Democrat; Treasurer Bobby Hill, a Republican, will face Zane Chenault; and Assessor Russell Hill, a Republican will face challenger William Chesser, a Democrat.

Democrats expected the high number candidates, even at the local level, Clark said. Local laws affect more people directly, and the party is focused on strengthening itself at the local level, he said.

"People are waking up to the reality that, if they want change, they have to do more than show up at the ballot box," Clark said.

NW News on 03/04/2018