Political newcomer Tony Washington won the race for Jefferson County tax collector in Tuesday’s Democratic Primary.
Complete but unofficial results are:Washington 5,029 Leslie Mitchell 2,640
Mitchell, who currently works as a case coordinator in the prosecuting attorney’s office, was running against Washington, who has worked for the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office as a senior public affairs liaison and is currently serving as the Government Relations Liaison for the University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical.
Each sought to replace Jefferson County Tax Collector Stephanie Stanton, who is retiring.
Washington said he never planned on running for office, preferring instead to try and help other people get elected. He worked on several prior campaigns, including serving as the campaign manager for 11th-West Judicial candidate Alex Guynn in 2016, as the Arkansas political director for President Obama’s first campaign, as 4th Congressional District outreach director for the coordinated campaign, and as a regional field organizer for the Democratic (Party) Coordinated Campaign.
“I decided it was my turn,” Washington said. “I could be in the community and serve as a role model for kids.”
Washington said he has talked with Stanton, who received top marks from the Association of Arkansas Counties for the job she has done and wants to continue that tradition.
“I believe the people of Jefferson County deserve the best customer service that can get,” he said.
Washington said that “the biggest issue is getting people to pay their taxes and I would go see them if they were delinquent.”
“We’re still operating the county like it was 20 years ago,” he said. “A lot of changes can be made to make the office run better.”
Both Mitchell and Washington said a change in state law that will allow county officials who are elected this year to serve four-year terms instead of two will be beneficial because it means they will have more time to be in the office and not having to worry about running every two years and the campaigning that goes with that.
Washington received a degree from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 2001 and is also a licensed real estate agent. He is married to Mae Washington, and they have one son.
No Republican ran in this race.