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story.lead_photo.caption El Dorado News-Times

Election season officially began in Arkansas on Monday as candidates for local, state and federal offices began filing to run for office.

Three candidates filed for both municipal and county offices at the Union County Courthouse. By 11:30 yesterday morning, an additional seven had filed, mostly for the Union County Republican Committee. (All local candidates who have filed are listed lower in the story.)

In Little Rock, 165 candidates or their surrogates filed for state and federal offices; three were based in Union County. Three judges from Union County filed in September, during an early filing period for nonpartisan races.

Primary elections, where voters will select their favorite either Republican or Democratic candidate for each office, will be held on March 3. Nonpartisan judicial races will also be held that day. Arkansas has open primaries, meaning that voters may choose to vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary elections, regardless of their political affiliation.

The general election is scheduled for Nov. 3, 2020. On that date, any contested races, other than the nonpartisan judicial races voters will decide in March, will appear on voters’ ballots.

Voters must be registered at least 30 days before the election they wish to vote in. For the primaries the deadline will be Feb. 4. For the general election, voters must be registered by Oct. 4. Voter registration application forms are available at the Union County Clerk’s Office, the El Dorado Revenue Office/Office of Motor Vehicles (DMV), public libraries, military recruitment offices, disibility agencies or through the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office. Forms may be printed from the Sec. of State’s website, sos.arkansas.gov.

City council seats will be up for grabs in El Dorado, Smackover, Norphlet, Strong, Junction City, Huttig, Felsenthal and Calion. Justice of the Peace positions in all 11 districts in Union County are also up. Recorder/treasurer positions in Smackover, Norphlet, Strong, Junction City, Huttig, Felsenthal and Calion will be contested as well.

Voters will also select Constables for all the municipalities and townships in Union County. Last year, candidates for constable only ran in El Dorado, Smackover, Norphlet, Harrison and Jackson.

School board elections will be held next year as well. Various positions in each school district will be on the ballot. No millage changes are expected, per an official in the Union County Clerk’s office.

On Monday, two justices of the peace, Benny Vestal (District 9) and Ross Burton (District 11) filed for reelection, both as Republicans. Wanda L. Young filed for the Ward 2, Position 1 Norphlet City Council position as a Democrat.

For the Arkansas House of Representatives, so far, incumbent District 6 Rep. Matthew Shepherd (R-El Dorado), also Speaker of the House, has already filed; he is thus far unopposed.

Bishop George Calloway, Jr., of El Dorado, filed Monday for the Arkansas House District 7 position as a Democrat. The seat is currently held by Rep. Sonia Barker (R-Smackover), who has announced her plans to run for reelection.

Two Democrats have filed for the District 27 seat in the Arkansas State Senate, currently held by Sen. Trent Garner (R-El Dorado), who also filed for reelection yesterday. Garry Smith, of Camden, and Keidra Burrell, of Pine Bluff, will face off in the March primaries, and the winner will face the Republican candidate (most likely Garner, who beat former Sen. Bobby Pierce by almost 10 points in 2016) next November.

According to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s website, three people have filed to run in the nonpartisan judicial races that will be held next March. Incumbent District Judge Jack W. Barker will run for reelection to the State District Court District 35 judgeship; Incumbent Circuit Judge Robin J. Carroll will run for reelection to the Circuit Judge, District 13, Division 4 judgeship; and Spencer G. Singleton will run for the Circuit Judge, District 13, Division 6 judgeship that is currently held by Judge David Guthrie.

Two candidates have filed to run for the Fourth Congressional District position in the United States House of Representatives – William H. Hansen of Hot Springs as a Democrat and Frank Gilbert of Tull as a Libertarian. Incumbent Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Hot Springs) has yet to file.

Several presidential candidates also filed Monday, mostly through proxies, though one Arkansas-native, Mosie Boyd, of Fort Smith, filed her candidacy personally. Byrd is running as a Democrat. Others that have filed include Democrats Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, as well as Independent C.L. Gammon, who is associated with the Prohibition Party. President Donald Trump has yet to file for reelection in Arkansas.

Candidates who filed for municipal and county government positions before close of business yesterday include:

(On Nov. 4)

Benny Vestal (R) for Justice of the Peace, District 9 (incumbent)

Ross Burton (R) for Justice of the Peace, District 11 (incumbent)

Wanda Young (D) for Norphlet City Council, Ward 2, Position 1

(On Nov. 5)

William Crowder (R) for Justice of the Peace, District 8 (incumbent)

David Taylor (R) for the Union County Republican Committee

Paul Choate (R) for El Dorado City Council, Ward 4, Position 1 (incumbent)

Arthemus Henry (D) for Strong City Council, Ward 2, Position 1 (incumbent) and the Union County Democratic Committee

Gus Perry (R) for Strong City Council, Ward 1, Position 2 (incumbent)

Henry Kinslow (R) for the Union County Republican Committee

Jamilya Dortion (R) for the Union County Republican Committee

John Burson (D) for Justice of the Peace, District 7 (incumbent)

Carolyn Jones (D) for Justice of the Peace, District 5 (incumbent)

Justin Hendrix (D) for Justice of the Peace, District 2 (incumbent)

Judy Ward (R) for El Dorado City Council, Ward 2, Position 2 (incumbent) and the Union County Republican Committee

Vance Williamson (R) for El Dorado City Council, Ward 2, Position 1 (incumbent) and the Union County Republican Committee

Allison Howell (D) for Strong Recorder/Treasurer (incumbent) and the Union County Democratic Committee

Billy Blann (R) for El Dorado City Council, Ward 1, Position 2 (incumbent)

Richard McClendon (R) for the Union County Republican Committee

Dean Storey (R) for Justice of the Peace, District 4 (incumbent) and the Union County Republican Committee

Candice Mattocks (R) for the Union County Republican Committee

(On Nov. 6)

Greg Harrison (D) for Justice of the Peace, District 3 (incumbent) and the Union County Democratic Committee

Rick East (D) for Smackover Recorder/Treasurer (incumbent) and the Union County Democratic Committee

Henry L. Frisby II (R) for the Union County Republican Committee

Mike Dumas (D) for Justice of the Peace, District 1 (incumbent)

Joseph Jay Burroff for the El Dorado School Board, Zone 2

Trent Garner (R) for the Union County Republican Committee

Keith Smith for the El Dorado School Board, Zone 4 (incumbent)

Diana Scritchfield (D) for the Union County Democratic Committee

Cecil M. Polk (D) for Justice of the Peace, District 6 (incumbent) and the Union County Democratic Committee

(On Nov. 7)

Andre Rucks (D) for El Dorado City Council, Ward 3, Position 2 (incumbent) and the Union County Democratic Committee

Donald Brock (R) for Justice of the Peace, District 10 (incumbent)

Myrtle "Tip" Vestal (D) for Strong City Council, Ward 3, Position 1 (incumbent)

Peggy Sue Holmes (R) for the Union County Republican Committee

Mark Corley (D) for Smackover City Council, Ward 1, Position 1 (incumbent)

Frank R. Hash (R) for El Dorado City Council, Ward 1, Position 1 and the Union County Democratic Committee

Charlotte Baine (R) for the Union County Republican Committee

James Baine (R) for the Union County Republican Committee

Kenneth Clemons for the El Dorado School Board, Zone 2

(On Nov. 8)

Chris Long (D) for the Smackover-Norphlet School Board, Zone 6 and Smackover City Council, Ward 2, Position 2 (incumbent)

Kensel Green (D) for El Dorado City Council, Ward 4, District 2

Dianne Hammond (R) for El Dorado City Council, Ward 4, District 2 (incumbent) and the Union County Republican Committee

Barbara V. Luther (R) for the Union County Republican Committee

Michael Rice (D) for El Dorado City Council, Ward 1, Position 1 (incumbent) and the Union County Democratic Committee

William (Bill) Luther (R) for the Union County Republican Committee

Shaneil Yarbrough for El Dorado School Board, Zone 4 (incumbent)

Elaine Strickland (R) for the Union County Republican Committee

Candidate filings will continue through Nov. 12; candidates will not be able to file over the weekend or on Veteran’s Day on Monday.

Caitlan Butler can be reached at 870-862-6611 or [email protected]

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