Even before Thursday's 12 noon filing deadline, local county races in 2018 were already guaranteed to see more candidates and more competitive races than known in recent memory, and as deadline finished, 37 persons had filed for various positions, according to a listing made available by the Hempstead County Clerk's office.
Even before Thursday’s 12 noon filing deadline, local county races in 2018 were already guaranteed to see more candidates and more competitive races than known in recent memory, and as deadline finished, 37 persons had filed for various positions, according to a listing made available by the Hempstead County Clerk’s office.
The biggest race will be for the top office, Hempstead County Judge, where four candidates will square off, including incumbent Haskell Morse, political newcomer Greg Jackson, former Sheriff Jerry Crane, and retired veteran Allen D. Flowers.
As of Thursday, Morse, Crane, and Jackson, all listed and filed as Republicans, will face voters in the May 22 GOP primary. Flowers, who filed as a Democrat, with no opposition within the party, will see the May 22 winner in the November General Elections.
Also on May 22, a surprise rematch shaped up as Eva J. Morehead, apparently filed as a Republican, to run against the current County Clerk, Karen Mitchell Smith, who is also a member of the GOP. Smith had defeated Morehead in 2016 in a close contest to succeed the then-retiring County Clerk Sandra Rodgers. Morehead had previously run as a Democrat.
Since both Smith and Morehead are in the GOP, the May 22 primary will essentially decide the Country Clerk’s office with no person filing as a Democrat for the general election.
In terms of number of candidates, two other very competitive races emerged out of Quorum Court District 7, and Hope School Board’s Zone 6.
For Justice of the Peace in District 7, incumbent Mikki Curtis, a school administrator, faces challengers, Jim Burke, a local attorney, and Steven Atchley, a Hope businessman. Curtis, Burke, and Atchley all filed as Republicans, so they will decide the seat in the May 22 primary.
Considered as “Non-Partisan,” the Hope School Board race in Zone 6 will see current incumbent Kathryn Dickinson challenged by three challengers, Nicholas Ward, Ira Dale Love, and Larry D. Johnson.
Dickinson assumed the Zone 6 seat by appointment following the death of her husband, the longtime incumbent Denny Dickinson. Denny Dickinson defeated challenger Sylvia Brown in 2016.
Another surprise competitive race will be in Quorum Court District 6, where 50-year incumbent Lynn Montgomery faces a challenge from Oakhaven Mayor Troy Lerew. Both men filed as Republicans, so they will face off May 22 to decide the seat.
For Hempstead County Coroner, there will be a competitive race between a Republican, David Peters, and a Democrat, Scott Brown. They will eventually meet in the November General Election.
To no one’s surprise, however, many offices including top county positions like Sheriff, Circuit Clerk, County Assessor, and County Treasurer saw no challengers with all the incumbents, now apparently guaranteed to return to office.
A flurry of familiar names, including Sheriff James A Singleton (Democrat), Treasurer Judy Lee Flowers (Democrat), Circuit Clerk Gail Wolfenbarger (Democrat), and Kim Smith, County Assessor (Democrat), and in the Hope School District, Linda Haynes of Zone 5, will all return to their positions unopposed.
All four of the Hempstead County Constable township positions (DeRoan, Garland, Saline, and Spring Hill) were unopposed as were Hempstead County Quorum Court Seats in districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, and 11.
Blevins School District Seats in Zone 4 and Zone 11 were also unopposed.