The Arkansas Supreme Court denied without comment today an emergency stay of a circuit court order disqualifying Josh Johnston of Rose Bud from being a Republican candidate for Cleburne County sheriff.
Johnston, a former state legislator, was disqualified after one of three opponents in the race challenged his eligibility because of a 1995 misdemeanor hot check conviction (over $210 check) when he was 19 years old. Johnston has moved since the conviction became an issue to have his record expunged and he told me today that it will be erased from his record June 5.
Too late for this election. Johnston’s name appears on the ballot. He’d hoped for a stay of the counting of ballots in hopes he could still qualify by the time votes were certified. That can’t happen now, but Johnston will be eligible in future election years with a clean record.
The Supreme Court didn’t comment in denying the petition 4-3. Justices Jo Hart, Karen Baker and Cliff Hoofman would have granted it.
Johnston said his early polling in the race showed him with a big lead in the four-person field.