‘Disappointed’: Justice of Peace candidate unable to continue in race

Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 6:31 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A candidate vying to become Craighead County’s Justice of Peace for District 6 can no longer advance as a candidate.

Democratic candidate Daniel Parker announced the news Wednesday on Facebook:

Hi folks. Unfortunately, I have some bad news. As you may recall, there were some unusual circumstances around the JP6...

Posted by Daniel Parker for JP - Craighead County District 6 on Wednesday, June 8, 2022

“I was disappointed. I think many of us in the party were disappointed as well,” he said.

Parker told his supporters he was notified he is not allowed to continue as the nominee, nor is the party permitted to advance a candidate in the race.

“Local politics matter so much. In the race, I was short by 11 votes. You know 11 votes is so small and there were only I think 100 something votes total, so every little vote matters,” he said.

Region 8 News spoke with several election officials who say certain laws are in place where candidates’ names cannot be removed from a ballot unless, for specific reasons like death, illness, or if they move.

The winning Democratic candidate in the race, Shamal Carter, had the most votes. He withdrew before the voting period began due to a filing error, but his name still appeared on the ballot.

“This highlights the need for a lot of changes in the electoral process here in the state of Arkansas. Those technicalities are kind of silly,” Parker said. “While I know that some on the other side may be cheering it on that there’s not going to be a Democratic opponent, this can easily happen to anyone on the Republican side as well.”

The chairman of the Democratic Party of Craighead County, Asad Khan, released this statement expressing his concern with the impact of the law:

“Craighead County had two strong candidates for Justice of the Peace District 6 in the Democratic primary election in May 2022: Shamal Carter and Daniel Parker. Unfortunately, due to a filing error, Shamal Carter is not eligible to stand for election following his primary win. In addition, according to Arkansas law, because Mr. Carter won the primary but is ineligible for the race, no candidate will move on from the primary.

This episode underscores the importance of primary elections and the importance of having election laws that serve the people of Arkansas and ensure that they have a voice.

Although this news is disappointing, we hope that both Mr. Parker and Mr. Carter will consider running for office in the future, as our community needs the voices of committed, progressive leaders.”

Asad Khan, Democratic Party of Craighead County Chair

Both agree that there should be candidates on both sides running in all races to give the community options to committed leaders.

As for Parker, although he cannot run in a political race at the time, he said he’s still fighting for marginalized communities and the working class.

“I have been involved in a lot of activism in the past. I’ve been a big supporter for LGBT rights, Black Lives Matter, but I want to shift from that activism to actually organizing folks,” Parker said. “I will still be on the frontlines doing that.”

Incumbent Darrell Cook is the Republican nominee for Craighead County’s Justice of Peace for District 6. With this confirmed news, Cook will run unopposed in the November election.

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