FAYETTEVILLE -- Candidates in two judicial runoff elections spent a lot of their own money to buoy their campaigns, and three of the runoff candidates ended in debt, according to their final finance reports.
In the race for the new circuit judge position in the 4th Judicial District, Diane Warren defeated Conrad Odom with 47,745 votes (52.3%) to Odom's 43,496 (47.6%). The position is a juvenile court seat for Washington and Madison counties.
Warren reported spending $80,173 including $20,945 in the runoff. She listed total campaign contributions of $80,270 with $100 in the runoff. Warren spent most of the money in the runoff on advertising.
In the judicial general election, held in March, Warren made three payments to her campaign of $50,000, $2,800 and $1,500. She reported being $100 in the black at the end of 2020.
Odom reported spending $112,328 on the race, $12,288 in the runoff. He listed $70,054 in campaign contributions, $650 in the runoff. Odom finished the race with $35,113 in debt in the form of personal loans to the campaign. He reported bringing $4,231 from the general election to the runoff.
Elections in Arkansas for judges are nonpartisan. Circuit judges serve six-year terms and are paid $172,298 a year.
Warren and Odom were the top vote-getters among five candidates in the judicial general election, but neither received the 50% plus one vote needed to win. Warren got 10,741 votes (28%) while Odom received 8,944 (24%) of the votes.
In the runoff for the District 2, Division 4, position, Terra Stephenson defeated Mark Scalise by 45,531 votes (54.1%) to 38,515 (45.8%).
Stephenson reported spending $62,997 on the race, including $5,550 in the runoff. She listed contributions of $35,919, including $2,213 for the runoff. Stephenson finished the race with $17,778 in campaign debt in the form of personal loans. She began the runoff with a negative balance of $5,962.
Scalise reported spending $24,520 on the race, including $1,095 on the runoff. He listed total campaign contributions of $17,105, which included $875 in the runoff. Scalise finished the race with $7,415 in campaign debt in the form of personal loans. He reported bringing $3,349 from the general election to the runoff.
District judges are paid $147,000 a year. Terms are four years.
Washington County is state District 2 and has four judges who hold court in different parts of the county. The positions are nonpartisan and voted on countywide. A small portion of Springdale that extends into Benton County also voted on the race.
The Division 4 seat was vacated by William Storey.
District courts have jurisdiction over traffic violations, misdemeanor offenses, violations of state law and local ordinances, preliminary felony matters and civil matters involving contracts, damage to personal property and recovery of personal property where the amount in controversy doesn't exceed $25,000.
Ron Wood can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @NWARDW.