December Trial Set in Dispute over Region 8 Legislative Seat

NOVEMBER 13, 2006 - Posted at 7:24 a.m. CST

HELENA-WEST HELENA, AR - Although Jack Crumbly's name was the only one on the general election ballot for the District 16 Senate seat, he may not be the next legislator for that eastern Arkansas district.

Representative Arnell Willis of Helena-West Helena has challenged the Democratic runoff results in June that first showed him winning then, after a second recount, showed him losing to Crumbly.  Crumbly, from Widener, is the superintendent of the Earle School District.

Circuit Judge L.T. Simes last week set aside December 6, 8 and 9 for a trial in St. Francis County Circuit Court in Forrest City.

Willis wants the circuit court to throw out the results of the June 13 runoff, in which Crumbly was declared the winner by 72 votes.  Willis' complaint accuses the election commission chairman of misconduct and the St. Francis County clerk and poll workers of mistakes.

The circuit judge originally dismissed the case in September, but the Arkansas Supreme Court last week reversed the decision and said the lawsuit should be heard.

District 16 covers part of Crittenden, Lee, Phillips and St. Francis counties.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)