Rare Republican run-off likely in Union County election

August 4th, 2015     Government & Politics

Will total employment in Union County improve today? Maybe a little bit.

Voters will choose today from among 69 candidates running for 16 different county offices in the party primary elections for 2015.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m.

Virtually every elective office in the state from governor to constable is up for grabs. The primary contests for statewide offices — governor, lieutenant-governor, insurance commissioner, etc. — have drawn relatively little attention, because the really meaningful contests for most statewide offices will be in November 3rd general election.

But Union County has primary election contests — Democrats-against-Democrats and Republicans-against-Republicans — for eight of the 16 county offices on the ballots.

Voting machines and other election equipment and materials were ready for distribution Monday in the circuit clerk's office.

Voting machines and other election equipment and materials were ready for distribution Monday in the circuit clerk’s office.

By our count there are 48 Democrats, 17 Republicans, and four “Independents” in the running.

There are only two county-wide offices with primary contests.

Incumbent Democrat Sheriff Jimmy Edwards is challenged by Democrat Tommy Wilhite, a former three-term Union County sheriff. Edwards, who was a former chief deputy for Wilhite, is serving his first term as sheriff. Wilhite did not seek re-election to the job in the 2011 elections. Either Edwards or Wilhite will face Republican Greg A. Elder in November.

Incumbent Union County Superintendent of Education Ken Basil, a Democrat now serving his second term as county schools executive, faces two challengers, Walter Moore and Loretta Hartfield,  in the Democratic primary. The winner of that contest will face unopposed Republican Roger Browning in November.

There are no primary contests for the county-wide offices of circuit clerk, chancery clerk, tax assessor/collector, county attorney or coroner.

There are contests for two jobs that serve only half of the county, east or west.

Incumbent Democrat Alan Childers, West Post Justice Court Judge, has no Democratic challenger nor are any Republicans filed for that position.

But three Democrats — David Garrison, John W. Haynes IV, and Jimmy Dean Whitten — are contesting the primary for Justice Court Judge East Post. Republican Thomas A. (Drew) Shands and Independent Jim Taylor are unopposed for the East Post Justice Court Judgeship until they face the winning Democrat in November.

Incumbent East Post Constable P. J. Doyle, a Democrat, has no opponent in the primary or general elections.

However, three Democrats, Greg Galloway, Steve A. Garrison, and Ronnie Goudy, are seeking their party’s nomination of Constable West Post. Two Republicans, Andy Howard and Robert Sheppard want the West Post Constable nomination.

Four Union County Board of Supervisors positions are hotly contested.

The real donnybrook is this year’s primary elections in Union County is for the five positions on the Union County Board of Supervisors, the body that has combined legislative and administrative responsibilities for the entire county

In District 1, incumbent Democrat Dwight (Peanut) Pickens faces seven other Democrats, two Republicans and one Independent in his bid for re-election for the Supervisor job. Democrats Evan Denton, Gary Floyd, William Hancock, Danny Jarvis, Billy Kizer, Dwight (Peanut) Pickens, Ronnie Raines and Sam Taylor are on today’s Democratic ballot. One of two Republicans, Coy Fitts or Marshall McClaughlin, will claim their party’s nomination today. The Independent in the District 1 race is Paul Patterson. It is thus likely that there will be a run-off election in two weeks for the Democratic nomination in District 1.

In District 2, incumbent Supervisor Democrat Jimmy Yarbrough has three Democratic challengers and two Republicans running for his job, creating the possibility of a run-off for the District 2 Democratic nomination. The Democrats are Yarbrough, Chad Coffey, Ronny Roberts, and Clinton Smith. Republicans vying for the District 2 seat are Bo Dillard and Barry E. Harrison. Gerald Rea is running as an Independent.

District 3 Supervisor, Democrat Danny Jordan, the long-time Supervisor for District 3 and current president of the Board of Supervisors, is not seeking re-election. Jordan’s departure has launched the “mother of all primary elections” in this year’s Union County contests.

Nine Democrats, five Republicans and one Independent are running for the District 3 Supervisor job. The Democrats are C. J. Bright, Robert E. Hogue, David Kitchens, Randy Lyons, Eddie Mitchell, Bob Robbins, David Self, Alfred Steward, Jr., and Hugh R. Yates. District 3 GOP contenders are David Kent, Michael A. Moody, Roger Tate, David A. (Old) Taylor, and David Williams. Ed Prawl is running as an Independent.

Thus there is a strong likelihood of run-off elections for both the Democratic and Republican nominations in District 3. We believe it would likely be the first time, at least since Reconstruction in the 19th century, that a run-off has been needed to pick a Republican candidate for a Union County office.

District 4 is the only Board of Supervisors job that has no contest in 2015. In Supervisory District 4, incumbent Democrat Randy Owen has no challenger, Democrat or Republican.

District 5 is a different story: Benny Rakestraw, a Democrat who has served multiple terms as District 5 Supervisor, is not seeking re-election.. There are eight Democrats and two Republicans seeking the supervisory board seat Rakestraw is vacating.

Democrats running in District 5 are Terry Greer, Ronny Hardy, Ryan Hall, John Pannell, Bobby Roberts, James Roberts, Brandon Self and Stevey Watson. Republicans in the District 5 race are Caleb Chandler and Joe Reed. Obviously a run-off is likely for the Democratic nomination in District 5.

NAnewsweb.com will post all available un-official vote totals for the Union County primaries tonight or early tomorrow morning.

For listing of election qualifiers:

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