Exclusive: Shipman speaks about leaving sheriff’s race

JONESBORO, Ark. – Craighead County Sheriff’s candidate John Shipman has exited the race before the November election.

Shipman confirmed to NEA Report on Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. that he was getting out of the race to focus on his family.

“I’m going to redirect my energy,” Shipman said. “I’m going to refocus on somethings 13882209_1082652988439077_7836875704747600328_nand I’m going to do what’s best for my family and myself. I believe going ahead and getting out, even though it’s within 60 days, I want to be a voice for the mentally ill. We’ve done a lot of good things in the community that’s taken a potshot because I was in a political race. I just want to get back to helping people and doing things without the political ugliness of it.”

Shipman’s ‘Back the Blue’ organization, designed to support law enforcement while giving back to the community, came under fire during a series of Jonesboro Sun stories earlier in the year. The stories indicated the group was being sued by a printing company for unpaid debts but also, that the organization was not as charitable as it had been portrayed. Funds being raised by the group were being reported by Shipman as personal income, although Shipman said proceeds were being used to help those in the community in the same manner as described.

Then, earlier in August, son Adam Shipman, also a Jonesboro police officer, resigned amid an internal probe. When an officer resigns instead of being fired, it becomes more difficult for the press to retrieve disciplinary records. The subject of the probe has never been revealed by authorities.

Both of these seemed to play larger roles in the decision by the elder Shipman to end his campaign prematurely, although he did not mention either specifically.

“It’s just about doing what’s best for me and my family,” Shipman said. “(Back the Blue is) wonderful. We were helping lots of people and it came under fire because I was a political candidate. I want to be a voice for those people and I’m going to be a voice for mental illness and the underprivileged, I promise you.”

Craighead County Clerk Kade Holliday said Shipman will still be on November ballots because of Arkansas code.

“Today, 8/31/16, my office received a Withdrawal of Candidacy for Republican Sheriff Candidate John Shipman,” Holliday said in an email. “In accordance with requirements under AR Code § 7-5-315 (2015)(b)(1), Mr. Shipman’s name will still appear on the ballot as the Withdrawal of Candidacy was received after the 75 day deadline (8/25/16) established under AR Code § 7-5-203 (2015)(b)(1),(2),(A). Votes for this candidate will still be counted and a vacancy in election shall be declared in accordance to AR Code § 7-5-315 (2015)(2)(A) if enough votes were received to win the election.”

(Photo sources: Shipman for Sheriff Facebook page)

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