Justice Of The Peace Declines Re-Election Bid
FAYETTEVILLE — A Republican justice of the peace doesn’t plan to serve another term on the Washington County Quorum Court — but his name will remain on the primary election ballot.
Joel Maxwell, who represents western Washington County, said Monday he plans not to remain on the court next year but will serve the remainder of his term through Dec. 31.
Maxwell’s name will remain on the primary ballot because the Election Commission already certified it.
Early voting starts May 7. Election day is May 22.
Maxwell faces Republican candidate Willie E. Leming of Lincoln. No other candidate filed for the general election.
“Leming would need to win in the primary [election] in order to hold the seat,” said Jennifer Price, executive director for the Election Commission.
If voters re-elect Maxwell for district 13 anyway, then a vacancy will be declared, and no one’s name will appear on the general election ballot, Price said. No one would be elected Nov. 6, and the governor would appoint a justice of the peace.
Maxwell said he didn’t know Leming and couldn’t endorse him.
Leming said he didn’t have a comment, other than he’s disappointed Maxwell plans to leave the race.
Maxwell said he is grateful to voters for electing him in 2014 and again in 2016. He said he enjoys working with other elected officials and county staff but coming changes to his professional job will limit his time.
Taxpayers deserve someone who can dedicate themselves more fully to research, discussion with experts and meeting constituents, Maxwell said.
“I could show up and vote, but I don’t think that’s the right way to do this job,” he said.