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Keith wins county judge runoff in Crawford County; Perry gets sheriff nod

Perry wins in sheriff’s runoff by Monica Brich, Thomas Saccente | June 22, 2022 at 8:51 a.m.
Pictured are Chris Keith (left) and Daniel Perry.

VAN BUREN -- Crawford County voters elected Chris Keith as their county judge and Daniel Perry as sheriff in runoff elections Tuesday.

Keith won the Republican primary runoff, according to Bill Coleman, chairman of the county Election Commission. He will succeed Dennis Gilstrap, who has held the position since 2014 and didn't file for reelection. No other candidates filed for the seat.

Unofficial vote totals are:

Keith^2,639 (54%)

Harvey^2,130 (44%)

State law requires a runoff if no candidate gains a clear majority -- 50% plus one or more -- in the primary. The runoff takes place between the two candidates with the most primary votes. This is to ensure no candidate advances to the general election with only a plurality of their party's vote.

During the May 24 primary, Keith get 4,187 votes (46%), while Harvey received 2,803 votes (31%). Republican Scott Overby, 47, garnered 2,139 votes (23%), according to official results on the Arkansas Secretary of State's website.

In the runoff for sheriff, Perry defeated Shannon Gregory.

Unofficial vote totals are:

Perry^2,705 (56%)

Gregory^2,074 (43%).

Perry received 3,297 (35%) of votes, and Gregory got 2,654 (28%) on May 24. No Democrat filed for the office, so Perry will be the only name on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

The incumbent sheriff, Jim Damante, was appointed in 2021 to serve the remainder of Ron Brown's four-year term. Brown retired that year. Damante wasn't able to seek reelection under state law.

Keith has been Crawford County's road superintendent for 15 years. He has worked for the county for 22 years under four county judges. This was his first time running for political office. Keith is also a board member for the Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council and is on a board pertaining to walkability in the Crawford County area through the Western Arkansas Planning and Development District.

Keith has said improving the county's road system is necessary to ensure it can accommodate the huge influx of people expected in the county. Keith also wants to work with all the mayors of cities in the county and possibly others to create an economic development plan for the county, he said.

Harvey has served on the county Quorum Court as justice of the peace for District 5 since 2016 and is the owner of Turf & Pest Pro USA in Van Buren.

Perry is a captain who supervises Van Buren's Police Department's patrol division. He's served in the department for almost 27 years, including 20 years in criminal investigations, nearly five years in narcotics with the 12th and 21st District Drug Task Forces and two years in administration over patrol. Perry's 32 years in law enforcement also includes time spent on the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Child Abduction Response Team and in the Magnolia Police Department.

Arkansas county judges serve four-year terms. The annual salary for the Crawford County judge is $63,878, according to the County Clerk's Office. Arkansas county sheriffs serve four-year terms. The yearly salary for the position is $63,878, according to the County Clerk's Office.

Print Headline: Keith gets nod for county judge


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