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Democrat Mosie Boyd says she wants to become the next county judge in Sebastian County, but her primary target appears to be fellow party member Ken Blevins, who also is running for the position.

Boyd isn't subtle in her opposition to Blevins. Her campaign website is timesupkenblevins.com. The home page heading of the site is a photo of Blevins' face inside a red circle with a line through it and the slogan "Times Up Ken Blevins."

The home page doesn't talk about Boyd's qualifications for the job but lists snippets of several news stories from as far back as 2011, when Blevins was Sebastian County Circuit Court clerk and embroiled in sexual harassment grievances brought by female staff members.

Boyd says on the site that she is running for county judge "to defeat former Republican Circuit Court Clerk Ken Blevins." She asks for campaign contributions "to help ensure Ken Blevins does not win another election in Sebastian County."

The winner of the May 22 primary will face longtime incumbent Republican David Hudson in the Nov. 6 general election. Hudson didn't return a call seeking comment Friday.

Blevins said Boyd's comments and website were hateful and that she was not serious about running for county judge. And if Boyd wins the Democratic nomination, Blevins said, Hudson will win the election.

"The only chance the Democrats have is if I am their choice," Blevins said Friday.

Blevins said he filed for the county judge position because he wanted to be in politics and that running for county judge was his only choice.

He also said he blamed Hudson for ruining his 2012 re-election bid. After the sexual harassment issue, Blevins was defeated in the next election's primary by a 2-1 margin.

Blevins said he was treated unfairly, that Hudson engineered the grievance committee that ruled he harassed the female staff members, and that Hudson controlled the county officials who worked against Blevins.

Blevins sued Hudson in 2013, accusing Hudson of sabotaging his administration and running him out of office. A Sebastian County Circuit Court judge threw out the lawsuit in 2014, and the ruling was affirmed by the Arkansas Supreme Court in 2016.

Aside from her campaign against Blevins, Boyd talked about her stand on some issues, such as the need to resolve problems with the county jail and lowering the crime rate.

Blevins declined to discuss issues, saying he did not believe a newspaper article was the proper forum.

The county judge's race in Sebastian County is one of 42 races in the western Arkansas counties of Crawford, Franklin, Johnson, Logan, Scott and Sebastian that will be contested over the coming months.

Among the county judge races, Republican Rickey Bowman, county judge in Franklin County, will face Democrat Rodney Joe Finley. Republican Randy Trusty will try to unseat fellow Republican Ray Gack in Logan County, and Scott County's James Forbes will run for re-election against fellow Democrat Phillip Sherrill.

Four of the counties will elect sheriffs but in only one of them will the incumbent seek re-election -- independent Randy Shores in Scott County. Republican Gary Clepper and independent Thomas Garrison have filed to run against Shores.

In the other three counties, Johnson County Sheriff Larry Jones won't seek re-election. Running for the position are Republicans Dale Wood, J. Shannon Holman, Jimmy Stephens and James Melson, as well as Democrat Jimmy Dorney. In Logan County, Boyd Hicks will not seek re-election while Republicans Jason W. Massey and Jason Parsons run for the job. Sebastian County Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck will not run again, and Republicans Randy McFadden, Hobe Runion and Jarrard Copeland have filed to run for the position.

State Desk on 03/04/2018

Print Headline: County judge hopeful targets challenger, not incumbent

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