Fulton County voters haven't elected a Republican to a countywide office since the Civil War and that trend continued Nov. 2 as Democrat Charles Willett received 2,757 votes to defeat Republican Gary Phillips (2,095 votes) for the county judge's seat.
Willett will replace outgoing Judge Curren Everett, who served as Fulton County Judge for 14 years.
Willett said he was pleased with his victory. "It's great. I can't wait to start working for Fulton County," said Willett.
Phillips remained upbeat despite his defeat. "We had a good showing. It's good for Fulton County to have a strong two-party system," said Phillips.
Willett's victory was fueled by record voter turnout in Fulton County. Over 4,800 people cast ballots in the general election, an increase of 550 votes from the last presidential race in 2000.
Phillips and Willett drew strong support in different parts of the county. Willett outpolled Phillips in Fulton (186-94), Mammoth Spring (372-270), Pleasant Ridge-Agnos (167-103) precincts. Voters in Myatt (38-35) and Union (27-23) favored Phillips over Willett.
Phillips said his showing in Fulton County proves that Republicans are beginning to make progress in a heavily Democratic county. Will he run for public office in the future? "I don't know. I might. We are going to run more candidates in other races in the county," said Phillips.
In the District 82 state representative race, Democrat Curren Everett was projected to win the seat after receiving 5,480. Everett defeated Republican Diana Turner (4,843) and independent candidate Linn Garner (1,673).
"I'm glad it's over. I'm just proud of Fulton County voters and the people in Baxter and Sharp counties who supported me," said Everett.
District 82 is comprised of Fulton County, eastern Baxter County and western Sharp County.
Everett will replace the term-limited Democrat Boyd Hickinbotham for the seat.
Following are the complete but unofficial results of the contested races in Fulton County: Judge :Gary Phillips (R) -- 2,095Charles Willett (D) -- 2,757District 82 State House of Representatives:(Fulton, Baxter and Sharp counties)Curren Everett (D) -- 5,480Diana Turner (R) -- 4,843Linn Garner (I) -- 1,673Justice of the Peace District 2:Thadnel Willett (D) -- 238Sherry Jackson (I) -- 146Lynn Guffey (I) -- 192Justice of the Peace, District 4:Doug Cunningham (D) -- 256Carl Arnold (I) -- 227Justice of the Peace, District 6:Dale French (D) -- 292Marjorie Rogers (R) -- 306Justice of the Peace, District 7:David Cunningham (D) -- 290Gene McBride (I) -- 230Fulton Township Constable:Richard T. Hutchinson (R) -- 83Frank Etheridge (D) -- 117Boyd L. Dailey (I) -- 217
In Izard County, Democrat Rayburn Finley received 3,175 votes to beat opponent Jackie Copeland (1,539 votes) for the Izard County judges' seat. Finley will replace Eddie Cooper who did not seek re-election as judge.Democrat Tate Lawrence garnered 3,446 votes in all but two precincts to easily defeat Independent Kenneth Kent in the county sheriff's race. Lawrence will replace Joe Martz who is retiring after this year.
Results from the contested races in Izard County:Judge:Rayburn Finley (D) -- 3,618Jackie Copeland (I) -- 1,662Sheriff:Tate Lawrence (D) -- 3,909Kenneth Kent (I) -- 1,432Justice of the Peace, District 4:Kenneth A. Ballman -- 271Dale M. Finley -- 180Horseshoe Bend Wards 1, 2 and 4, Myron and Jefferson Township Constable:Scott R. Holloway (D) -- 385Jack T. Ryan -- 365Doug Liggett (R) -- 250Franklin Treasurer/RecorderDarlene Folyer (I) -- 39Steve Smith (I) -- 56Horseshoe Bend City Council Ward 3 Position :Robert E. Dupler (I) -- 56Willie Moser (I) -- 174Melbourne City Council Ward 1 Position 2: Shane Linn (I) -- 96Shannon Womack (I) -- 1439-1-1 tax:For -- 2,211Against -- 2,940
Results from the contested races in Sharp County:JudgeHarold Crawford (D) -- 5,035 J.R. Murphy (I) -- 2,254District 80 State House of Representatives:(Sharp and Randolph counties)David Cook (D) -- 6,218Rodney Harris (R) -- 3,884R. Garry Palmer (I) -- 984ASH FLATRecorder/treasurerCharlotte Goodwin (I) -- 321 Gary "Pepper" Martin (I) -- 121Ward 1 Position 2Larry Fowler (I) -- 154Carolyn Stewart (I) -- 285Ward 2 Position 1Scott Brewer (I) -- 231Darrell Carpenter (I) -- 205 Ward 2 Position 2Rickey E. Crook (I) -- 193Marty Goodwin (I) -- 246Ward 3 Position 2Cindy Asher (I) -- 264Joe Cotham (I) -- 169CAVE CITYRecorder/treasurerAndrea Smith (I) -- 190Kathy Wooldridge (I) -- 350Ward 4 Position 1Carey Markum (I) -- 236Ralph Parsley (I) -- 276Ward 4 Position 2John Ables (I) -- 210Dale King (I) -- 308CHEROKEE VILLAGEWard 1 Position 1Tom Henkels (I) -- 1,145F.V. "Tom" Thompson (I) -- 1,112Ward 1 Position 2Pam Lueder (I) -- 912Jan Torbit (I) -- 1,294Ward 2 Position 2Angela Petersen (I) -- 1,107Brent Watts (I) -- 940Ward 4 Position 2Peter R. Martin (I) -- 1,167Darrell McWilliams (I) -- 8481-cent sales taxFor -- 574Against -- 1,153HARDYRecorder/treasurerCarolyn Rae Groves (I) -- 155Nina A. Thornton (I) -- 153Ward 1 Position 1Amy Hussung (I) -- 158Lloyd McEntire (I) -- 146Ward 2 Position 1Ann Raheem (I) -- 130Chad Wiles (I) -- 175Ward 2 Position 2Ralph DePriest (I) -- 151Robert Gilliland (I) -- 155HIGHLANDRecorder/treasurerCarol Frolow (I) -- 133Mary Wiles (I) -- 371 Ward 1 Position 1Denise A. Gibbons (I) -- 350William "Bill" Rachal (I) -- 127Ward 1 Position 2Willis Eversoll (I) -- 263Clyde L. Fisher (I) -- 226Ward 2 Position 1Mike Byron (I) -- 181Bob Vance (I) -- 308Ward 3 Position 2Joyce Bettis (I) -- 210Shawn A. Reed (I) -- 279Ward 4 Position 1Lawrence H. Allen (I) -- 248Taryn Hill Duncan (I) -- 244Ward 4 Position 2Sam Brock (I) -- 50Jerome Norwood (I) -- 80