Washington County Justice of the Peace caught on hot mic weeks before Election Day

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – With just 18 days to go until Election Day, a Zoom meeting of the Washington County Quorum Court is bringing attention to a candidate that she may not have been expecting.

JP Andrea Jenkins was heard Thursday night during the quorum court meeting interrupting a citizen speaker and talking about drinking before the meeting without realizing her microphone was on. Now, some in the county are wondering if this could hurt her chances for reelection.

“I fell asleep before we got here, I started drinking because tonight sucked,” Jenkins said during the Zoom meeting. Seconds later, one of the members says “JP Jenkins your mic is hot.”

This was an incident Washington County Attorney, Brian Lester, calls “ironic”. He says to avoid interruption the court originally didn’t allow member’s mics to be on during Zoom meetings unless they were speaking. However, that rule changed after Jenkins spoke up not long after the rule was established.

Lester said, “It was JP Jenkins who made a comment somewhere along the lines of, ‘We’re not third graders we’re responsible adults we can mute and unmute ourselves. ‘”

While Jenkins has not responded to any calls to comment on the issue, her opponent, Robert Dennis says he won’t use this situation to talk bad about her. Rather, he encourages voters to simply do their research.

“The video speaks for itself and her record speaks for itself and so she’s told the message and they’re facts so just look at the facts and make your decision based on that.”

This isn’t the first time Jenkins’ name has bee associated with drinking. In July 2019, she was arrested for driving while intoxicated. She pled guilty in December that same year.

However, the Arkansas Ethics Commission says there are no policies against Jenkins’ actions, specifically the hot mic incident in Thursday’s meeting. Lester says there are also no policies within Washington County that Jenkins violated.

“This is one of those things that the county would never get involved with and we really there’s nothing for the county to do it’s all the elected officials and they answer to the people that elect them,” he said. “I can tell you that the expression on the other faces that were JPs would lead me to believe that there was some concern.”

This race will be on the District 10 ballot in Washington County beginning Monday, October 19 for early voting and lasting until election day November 3.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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