Changes coming to Washington County Quorum Court; three seats open to newcomers

Election will result in at least three new JPs

The Washington County Courthouse in Fayetteville.
The Washington County Courthouse in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- There will be at least three new faces on the Washington County Quorum Court for the term beginning in January 2025.

There are 15 justices of the peace on the Washington County Quorum Court. All the quorum court seats in Arkansas' 75 counties are up for election next year. Filing for the seats ended Tuesday for all counties.

One incumbent, Sean Simons, a Republican from District 3, chose not to seek reelection. Simons, who is in his second term, said he chose to step down for "family" reasons. He said he remains interested in county government and hopes to stay engaged "from this side" as a private citizen.

Two other seats will be filled by newcomers after the 2024 election. The District 1 seat is now held by Coleman Taylor, who was appointed to the position and is not eligible to run for the post in 2024. The District 4 seat was held by Fred Anderson, who died in March. Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders hasn't filled that vacancy.

There will be a contest in the March 5 primary election for the Republican Party nomination for the District 1 seat on the Quorum Court. Ofelia Cypert and Bradley Bruns filed as candidates for that seat. The winner of the primary election will face Democrat Sarah Hampton in the November general election.

There will be seven other contested races in November.

District 2: incumbent Republican David Wilson faces Democrat Nestor Briceno.

District 4: Democrat Vladimir Lopez will face Republican Bill Ussery.

District 6: Incumbent Republican Lisa Ecke is challenged by Democrat Shannon Freas.

District 7: The Republican incumbent Charles Dean faces Democrat Sherry Main.

District 10: Voters will choose between Republican incumbent Robert Dennis and Democrat Amanda Foster.

District 14: Republican incumbent Gary Ricker faces Democrat Ash Lee Hicks.

District 15: Voters will choose between Republican incumbent Butch Pond and Democrat Chad Brekelbaum.

Three Republicans will be unopposed in their bids for a Quorum Court seat: Robert Massingill in District 3, Kyle Lyons in District 5 and Willie Leming in District 13.

Four Democratic Party incumbents will also be unopposed: Shawndra Washington in District 8, Beth Coger in District 9, Suki Highers in District 11 and Evelyn Rios Stafford in District 12.

The Quorum Court is the legislative body of county government and its members are called justices of the peace. They are elected to two-year terms. Each justice of the peace represents a district within the county of roughly equal population.

Justices of the peace in Washington County are paid a $200 per diem on days they attend Quorum Court or committee meetings.

There are 137,025 registered voters in Washington County as of Friday, according to the County Clerk's Office.

The preferential primary election is March 5. The general election is Nov. 5.

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