Primary elections today in Arkansas

(May 18, 2004) — Today is primary election day, and there are presidential and U-S Senate primary races on the ballot. But a pair of state Supreme Court races are expected to garner more attention. One race features Wendell Griffen, a Court of Appeals judge whom a state board wanted to reprimand for criticizing hiring practices at the University of Arkansas. He faces Supreme Court Justice Jim Hannah in a race for Arkansas chief justice. The winner will the top administrator of the state's highest court. Another Supreme Court race features circuit judges Paul Danielson of Booneville, Jim Gunter of Hope and Collins Kilgore of Little Rock. Kilgore wrote the May 2001 decision declaring Arkansas' school funding system unconstitutional. The Supreme Court upheld it in 2002. Senator John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic Party nominee for president, is expected to win easily in a meaningless preferential primary, and little trouble is expected for Senator Blanche Lincoln, who faces Lisa Burks of Hot Springs in the primary. Three Republicans are seeking the G-O-P nomination for U.S. Senate: state Senator Jim Holt of Springdale, former Benton County Sheriff Andy Lee and former Kentucky Fried Chicken pitchwoman Rosemarie Clampitt.