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Pike County wet/dry issue fails by six votes; new judge, former mayor elected

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MURFREESBORO — In the 2022 general election held on Tuesday, November 8, Pike County voters narrowly defeated the highly debated liquor referendum by six votes — 1,858 to 1,852 (50.08% to 49.92%).

In looking at the breakdown of the voting sectors, the vote results on the local option ranged heavily across the county. 

Murfreesboro East led the way with 58.5% of the vote in affirmation (313-222) along with Murfreesboro West closely behind at 56.25% (386-297). Antoine and Daisy also supported the measure by a 50-39 and 124-122, respectively, for a 56.18% and 50.41% agreement.

However, the remainder of the county was against the referendum, led by Langley/Lodi with a 133-65 margin (67.17%) in the no column. Other precincts against the sale of alcohol in county included Kirby 247-193 (56.14%), Pisgah 108-93 (53.73%), Newhope 86-75 (53.42%), Glenwood South 247-218 (53.12%), Glenwood North 162-154 (51.27%) and Delight 195-181 (51.86%).

Some 38 voters that participated in the election took no position either way on the issue.

According to Pike County Clerk Randee Reid, the soonest the wet referendum could again appear on local ballots is in the elections of 2026. Also, she said no recount was requested and is now past the deadline to do so — although with voting machines, the result would likely be the same, as the miscounting of paper ballots due to human error has all but been completely eliminated. 

Other election results in contested races across the county saw Pike elect a new county judge by a wide margin (70.28%), as Eddie Howard (R) will take over for incumbent judge Dewight Mack (D) on January 1 after the vote of 2,615 to 1,106.

Republican challenger Staci Stewart won the Pike County Assessor race to replace the retiring Becky Alden over independent candidate Jennifer Watson 2,657-1,004 (72.58%).

The City of Murfreesboro held two contested races — one for mayor to replace the outgoing Rodney Fagan — as well as an alderman seat on the city council.

In the Mayoral race, Jim O’Neal’s  375 votes (65.22%) was able to outpace challengers Jack Bonds (117) and Randy “Flick” Highnight (83).

For the Murfreesboro Alderman North Ward 2 position, Kirk Stone (332, 59.71%) won the position over challenger Lance Bridgeman (224).

In the contested statewide elections, Pike County largely followed in lockstep the trend from across the state. Results included:

U.S. Senate 

John Boozman (R) 3,133 (84.61%), Natalie James (D) 472, Kenneth Cates (L) 98; Boozman won the race statewide with 65.85% of the vote 

U.S. Congress District 04 

Bruce Westerman (R) 3,151 (85.32%), John White (D) 450, Gregory Maxwell (L) 92; Westerman won the race statewide with 71.01% of the vote

Attorney General 

Tim Griffin (R) 3,184 (86.43), Jesse Gibson (D) 500; Griffin won the race statewide with 67.74% of the vote 

Auditor of State 

Dennis Milligan (R) 3,136 (85.36%), Diamond Arnold-Johnson (D) 449, Simeon Snow (L) 89; Milligan won the race statewide with 66.92% of the vote 

Commissioner of State Lands 

Tommy Land (R) 3,170 (86.35%), Darlene Goldi Gaines (D) 501; Land won the race statewide with 68.90% of the vote

Governor 

Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) 3,121 (83,72%), Chris Jones (D) 552, Ricky Dale Harrington, Jr. 51, Write-in candidates 4; Sanders won the race statewide with 63.08% of the vote 

Lieutenant Governor 

Leslie Rutledge (R) 3,113 (84.02%), Kelly Ross Krout (D) 490, Frank Gilbert (L) 102; Rutledge won the race statewide with 64.32% of the vote

Secretary of State 

John Thurston (R) 3,176 (86.35%), Anna Beth Gorman (D) 502; Thurston would the race statewide with 67.71% of the vote 

State Treasurer 

Mark Lowery (R) 3,156 (85.78%) Pam Whitaker (D) 523; Lowery won the race statewide with 66.40% of the vote 

State Supreme Court Associate Justice Position 2 

Robin Wynne 1,731 (54.74%), Chris Carnahan 1,431; Wynne won the race statewide with 58.38% of the vote

Steve Crowell (State Senate District 3), Terry Rice (State Senate District 5), and Justin Gonzales (State Representative District 89) all appeared on Pike County ballots and were elected without opposition.

State Issue No. 1 — Constitutional Amendment to allow the General Assembly to Convene in Extraordinary Session 

For 1,347; Against 2,169 (61.69%), the measure failed statewide by a 60.94% margin

State Issue No. 2 — Constitutional Amendment and Ballot Initiative Reform Amendment

For 1,467; Against 2,097 (58.84%); the measure failed statewide by a 59.15% margin

State Issue No. 3 — Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment

For 1,748; Against 1,859 (51.54%); the measure failed statewide by a 50.44% margin

State Issue No. 4 — Authorize the Possession, Personal Use, and Consumption of Cannabis

For 1,344; Against 2,365 (63.76%); the measure failed statewide by a 56.28% margin

Overall 3,748 of the 6,141 registered voters in Pike County (61%) participated in the election, which by percentage ranked second in the state behind only Montgomery County’s 62%. Of that total, 2,211 voted in the early voting process before election day (58.99%). 

The Pike County Election Commission — commissioners Dr. Terry Hutson, William C. “Billy” Plyler and Joan Hooper — certified the vote as official on Monday.

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