More pieces of the fall political puzzle will fall into place Tuesday when Faulkner County voters visit the polls for the preferential primary election.
Several county and legislative contests are on the ballots, although considerably more races involve Republican candidates than Democrats. Voters also will decide a handful of nonpartisan judicial races.
The county’s 48 voting precincts will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. A list of the polling sites is in today’s Log Cabin.
Early voting concluded Friday at four of the county’s five polling locations, and turnout was the heaviest since advance voting began on May 7. A total of 513 Faulkner Countians cast ballots Friday, well above the daily average of 316 voters prior to Friday. Turnout raised the early voting total to 3,669, or 6 percent of the county’s 62,000 registered voters.
Early voting concludes Monday at the courthouse in Conway. Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
There’s a strong likelihood that the primary season will extend into June with a runoff race for the GOP nomination for sheriff. Four candidates — Tim Ryals, Andy Shock, H. Allen Smith and Max Young, all of Conway — are vying for a November general election date with Democratic candidate Tommy Earnhart of Conway. Sheriff Karl Byrd, a Democrat, is not seeking re-election.
The runoff election date is Tuesday, June 12. Early voting would begin the preceding Tuesday.
One GOP legislative race generating interest locally is the Arkansas House District 70 contest between Rep. David Meeks and challenger Price Dooley, both of Conway. Phil Grace and Josh Miller, both of Heber Springs, are competing for the GOP nomination in Arkansas House District 66. Vying for the GOP nomination in state Senate District 15 are state Reps. Ed Garner of Maumelle and David J. Sanders of Little Rock.
The other primary race for Republicans is a California Township constable contest between Randy O. Bowling and Nathan Kelley, both of Greenbrier.
Nonpartisan judicial races include five candidates from Conway, four of whom are vying for a pair of District Court judgeships in District 9. Mike Murphy and David L. Reynolds are seeking the Position 1 bench, while Amy Brazil and Susan Weaver are competing for the Position 2 seat. Rhonda Wood of Conway is opposed by Mitch Cash of Pindall in the race for a Court of Appeals associate judgeship in District 2.
The judicial races will be decided Tuesday. Judicial contests extend to the general election only if a runoff is required.
The only Democratic primary race is a Benedict Township constable contest between Dalton Elliott of Conway and Hubert Goodnight of Mayflower.
Overall primary turnout reached 22 percent in 2010 with more than 13,600 ballots cast.