The Sharp County Courthouse was the place to be Nov. 2 around 7:30 p.m. as candidates, their families and friends showed up in masses to show their support and hopefully clench a position in the leadership in Sharp County. The final votes were counted and announced around 10:45 p.m. with 240 absentee ballots yet to be counted.
As 2010 bids farewell to 2011, residents of the county will see several changes in leadership, including a new sheriff and several mayors, as well as changes in alderman on some of the city councils. The 2010 General Election also brought with it the reaffirmation of several leaders, including the county judge, as well as a few run off elections.
In Sharp County, Democrat County Judge Larry Brown defeated his Republican opponent Phillip Hood 3,183 to 2,845. Democrat Mark Counts defeated Independent Jim Estes 4,232 to 1,711 to become Sharp County's new sheriff. Jim Sitz, who was a write-in candidate for County Surveyor received 196 votes.
In contested Justice of the Peace races, Everett McGuire defeated Bartus Allen 353 to 288 for District 8. In the race for District 7 Justice, Bart Schultz and Dave Dougherty will be in the run off election. Schultz had 212 votes;, Dave Dogherty 199, David Croft 168, Jimmie Don Kunkel 121, Joe Adams 35, and Marvin Cossey 19.
Sharp County also had two races for constable. In District 1, Democratic candidate Mike Zeiger defeated his Republican contender Scottie Runsick 460 to 248. For District 6 Constable, Clint Madison defeated Dennis L. Black Hawk 396 to 205.
Sharp County was also the site of six mayoral races. In Ash Flat, Danny Traw was re-elected, defeating his opponents. Traw received 196 votes to Kelly Newcom's 99 and 27 for Jason Hale. In Cave City, Daniel Wilson defeated Kathy Wooldridge 255 to 153. Richard Huff won the mayor's race in Evening Shade, defeating Martha Gunnip Aberholden 149 to 65. In Hardy, Nina Thornton keep her seat as mayor, defeating Greg Bess 179 to 123. In Highland, Richard Smith took the upper hand on contender Clyde L. Fisher 245 to 102. In Williford, Wayne Lester became the city's new mayor, defeating Glenda Baskin 25 to 10.
In Cherokee Village, the Recorder/Treasurer position was up for grabs. Lana Hamilton defeated Phyllis Endrihs 712 to 605. There was also one contested seat on the city council. Pamela Rowland will face incumbent Alderman Tom Thone for the Ward 1 Position 2 seat in the run-off election. Other candidates for the seat included Ron Evance with 208 and Thone 519 to Rowland's 605.
Hardy also had two contested Alderman seats. One will require a run off election. For Ward 2, Position 2, Sherri L. Groves defeated Louie Seibert 202 to 93. For Ward 1 Position 2, Margaret Harness defeated David Lee Clayton 179 to 110. Melanie Dietsche and Amy Hussung will run in the run off election as the two were a very close 110 to 105.
Two Alderman seats in Highland were contested. Lynda L. Maguire defeated W.W. Pardue 258 to 71 to clench the Ward 1, Position 2 seat. Danny Taylor won the Ward 2 Position 1 seat 194 to 147 over Russell Truitt.
Williford's City Council will also see a few changes. Jimmy D. Russell defeated Chris Baskin 22 to 11 for the Position 1 seat. For Position 3, Leonard Wiles defeated Linda D. Benson 22 to 16. In the Position 4 seat Ambie D. Lester defeated Jesse J. couch 23 to 13.
In State races, Congressman John Boozman took the U.S. Senate seat with 3,426 votes, Boozman won the state by a 57.99 percent. U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln finished a not so close second in Sharp County with 2,095 votes. At the state level, Lincoln carried 36.75 percent of the vote. Other contenders included Trevor Drown with 345 votes in Sharp County; John Laney Greay, III received 145 votes.
For the U.S. Congressional Seat in District 1, Rick Crawford defeated Chad Causey 3,379 to 2,184 in Sharp County. Republican Crawford mimicked the county's sentiments and took 52.4 percent of the vote at the state level to win the District 1 seat over Democrat Causey's 42.49 percent. Ken Adler, another opponent in the race received 412 votes in the county.
For Governor, Governor Mike Beebe was able to hold his position, defeating Jim Keet and Jim Lendall. Beebe received 3,607 votes in the county. Keet took 2278 votes in Sharp County and Lendall 165. Beebe was also victorious at the state level, receiving 64.30 percent of the vote, guaranteeing him another two years in the office.
One of the closer races at the state level involved Republican Mark Darr and Democratic Senator Shane Broadway in their race for Lieutenant Governor. Darr emerged the winner in Sharp County with 3,227 votes to Broadway's 2,679. At the state level Darr grabbed 51.25 percent of the vote to Broadway's 48.75 percent.
Incumbent Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, a democrat, was reaffirmed as the state's Attorney General. McDaniel faced Green Party candidate Rebekah Kennedy in the race. McDaniel received 3,882 to Kennedy's 1,594. At the State level, McDaniel also clenched the race with an overwhelming 72.66 percent of the vote to Kennedy's 26.82 percent.
In the Secretary of State Race, Representative Mark Martin won at the county level with 3,164 to County Clerk Pat O'Brien's 2,784. At the state level, Martin took the position with 51.25 percent of the vote to O'Brien's 48.75 percent.
For State Treasurer, State Treasurer Martha Shoffner defeated contender Bobby Tullis 3,446 to 1,912. Again, at the state level, results for the position were the same, as Shoffner carried 67.45 percent of the vote to Tullis' 32.55
In the Commissioner of State Lands race, John M. Thurston, the Republican candidate for the seat, defeated Democratic L.J. Bryant 3,137 to 2,715 at the county level. The state results also gave Thurston the win with 52.83 percent of the vote to Bryant's 47.17
In one of the areas most hotly contested races, Republican Missy Thomas Irvin defeated Democrat Representative Curren Everett 3,591 to 2,353 for the State Senate seat for District 10. The final results for the district were 52.83 percent to 40.70 percent.
For District 80 State Representative, Democrat Linda Collins-Smith emerged victorious over Republican Keith Sloan by a 1,861 to 1,697 margin in Sharp County. In the district, the vote count was 51.97 percent for Collins-Smith to 48.03 percent for Sloan.
Another race many Sharp County residents were talking about, while waiting for results, was the District 82 race between Republican Lori Benedict and Democratic candidate Robert Hutchison. Hutchison carried Sharp County with 1,367 votes to Benedict's 1,046, however, at the District level, Benedict emerged the winner with 55.35 percent of the vote to Hutchison's 44.65 percent.
The run-off election is set for Nov. 23 with early voting beginning Nov. 16 during regular business hours at the clerk's office.