PINE BLUFF — A member of the Jefferson County Board of Election Commissioners admitted pulling a gun during an altercation with a former commissioner after a commission meeting Thursday, but he said he did so because he felt threatened.

PINE BLUFF — A member of the Jefferson County Board of Election Commissioners admitted pulling a gun during an altercation with a former commissioner after a commission meeting Thursday, but he said he did so because he felt threatened.


Republican Stu Soffer said the former commissioner, Theodis "Ted" Davis, attacked him while he, Soffer, was holding the door open and he had no place to retreat.


Soffer told a reporter he pulled a handgun out of his pocket and held it at his side, but did not point it at Davis, who is a Democrat.


"I’m 74 years old and I was in fear of my life," Soffer said.


Davis was not immediately available for comment after the incident.


The incident occurred after commission Chairman Mike Adam, also a Republican, adjourned the meeting when Michael McCray, who is also a Democrat and had signed up for public comments, insisted on talking about an issue that Adam said he could not speak about because it was being referred to prosecutors.


When Adam adjourned the meeting, Davis protested, saying he had come to the meeting to discuss another issue, a proposed ordinance the commission is asking the Jefferson County Quorum Court to consider that would give the commission the authority to hire and fire election coordinators. That responsibility is currently held by the county judge.


Davis said the move was racially motivated because it would take the authority away from County Judge-elect Henry "Hank" Wilkins IV, who defeated current County Judge Dutch King in the May 22 Democratic party runoff.


Soffer and Adam exited the building while the third member of the commission, Democrat Cynthia Sims, remained and said the commission should have been willing to hear what Davis and Wilkins, who was also at the meeting, had to say.


Several police cars responded to the incident, including a patrol supervisor, and remained for more than 45 minutes before dispersing the crowd. There were no arrests.


For his part, Wilkins said he wanted to complain because while the commission certified the results of the runoff, they did not verbally announce to the public the final numbers.