The field of candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for the District 9 seat in the Arkansas House of Representatives was narrowed from three to two Tuesday night.

Following a 5-1 vote by secret ballot at a Drew County Democratic Committee meeting, Grant Pace, who received one vote, withdrew his name from consideration and was the first to congratulate LeAnne Burch. The committee had planned to continue voting until the vote was unanimous, but Pace withdrew his name instead. “I will back out and let LeAnne have it,” Pace said. “It’s a 5-1 vote; that’s good enough for me.”

Delegates from Drew and Ashley counties will hold a convention Thursday night when the delegates will select either Burch, of Monticello, or Candace Jeffress, of Crossett, as the Democratic nominee in the November 8 General Election for the District 9 House seat.

The party’s nominee, Sheilla Lampkin, who was seeking her fourth term, died on July 23 leaving the Democratic Party with no candidate for the seat.

Ashley County will have five delegates to the convention while Drew County will have six delegates. The number of delegates for each county was based upon the number of votes each county cast for the Democratic candidate (Mike Ross) in the last gubernatorial election. The 11 delegates will select the party’s nominee for a special election to elect a representative to complete Lampkin’s unexpired term which ends on Dec. 31, 2016 and the general election for the upcoming two-year term which begins on Jan. 1, 2017. The special election will coincide with the general election.

Ashley County Delegates
Candace Jeffress, of Crossett, a school teacher at Hamburg High School and one of the candidates;
Jimmy Jeffress, of Crossett, a former State Senator and Candace Jeffress’ husband;
C.T. Foster, a retired Crossett High School band director;
Emily Wisener, of Hamburg, a school teacher at Hamburg High School; and
Johnnie Bolin, of Crossett, a former state representative.

Ashley County also chose two alternates: Summer Robertson and Doris Smith, both of Crossett. Robertson teaches at Hamburg High School and Doris Smith is a retired office director at the Department of Human Services in Hamburg.

Drew County Delegates:
Ron Echols, a Monticello businessman; Delbert Farrar, chairman of the Drew County Democratic Party; Zack Tucker, mayor of Monticello; Dr. Jack Lassiter, former chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Monticello; Dakota Blakney, a student at the University of Arkansas at Monticello and secretary/treasurer of the Drew County Democratic Party; and Sandra Crowell, administrative assistant for Drew County Judge Robert Akin.

Drew County selected three alternates: Brenda Binns, Shirley Kizer and Marsha Winklepleck. Binns is a family services supervisor for the Division of Children and Family Services and Kizer is a retired school teacher.

The Democratic nominee will face Republican Jim Hall in the general election for the upcoming two-year term. The Republican parties for both Drew and Ashley counties will not hold a convention to select a nominee for the special election.