Mayor of Hughes, Arkansas, could be recalled in election

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HUGHES, Ark. -- The mayor of Hughes, Arkansas, will find out Tuesday night if he will remain on the job.

"What they did, of course, was very, very unfair in the sense that they gave us no notice, a day or two's notice before the election," said Mayor Grady Collum.

Mayor Collum is referring to his own name being on the ballot.

Several community members signed a petition to recall him as mayor.

In August, a circuit court judge first ruled the petition was untimely in its filing, but then reversed her decision after those who filed it argued it was only three days past the deadline, which is ceremonial.

"We had no time to campaign or prepare or technically, we weren't in an election," said Mayor Collum. "It was one of those unfair things that happens sometimes."

With less than 1,400 people in their town, people showed up all day to cast their ballots.

But when it came to Mayor Collum, there are only two choices: Keep him in office or throw him out.

Once the votes are in, they still have to be approved by the appeals court or the circuit judge.

"There are 20 reasons why we voted for the removal of Doctor Collum," said Hughes councilman Rudolph Robinson.

They sent out those 20 reasons on paper to the community.

Those for the mayor then sent out their own defenses to the arguments.

The only thing they can agree on is this comes down to race.

"This is a very, very racially divided town," said Robinson. "The racism is not on the part of the blacks in this town, it's on the part of a portion of the whites in this town."

While Mayor Collum says the people opposing him are African American and want him out because he's white.

"My fear is that these people have so much hate and so much racism in their thinking that they have unwittingly created a situation where no honest, capable person will ever run for mayor in this town again," said Mayor Collum.

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