Despite bouts of heavy rain and power outages at some polls, voters turned out Tuesday to vote for — or against — Arkansas lawmakers.
What happened: The Democratic and Republican primaries were held to decide the nominees for the general election in November.
What they’re saying: “I’m very pleased with the progress we’ve made,” Sen. Jim Hendren (I-Sulfur Springs) and founder of Common Ground AR told Axios late Tuesday night.
- The organization’s goals are to educate voters, provide tools so that voters can strategically cast their ballots, and convince them to get out and vote.
- Though not all votes had been counted, there was more early voting statewide than in any other primary, he said.
Janine Parry, a political science professor at the University of Arkansas, told Axios the dust will have to settle a bit before we’ll know if Common Ground had an impact on voter behavior.
There were 17 candidates competing for seven state Senate seats. There were no opponents in two of those races, meaning state Sens. Greg Leding (D-Fayetteville) and Bart Hester (R-Cave Springs) are nominees and presumptive winners in the November general election, according to unofficial results.
- A new Senate seat for District 29 — largely rural southeast Washington County — was added due to redistricting. Republican Jim Petty will be the nominee, taking about 70% of the vote.
- Reps. Clint Penzo (R-Tontitown), Joshua Bryant (R-Pea Ridge) and Jim Dotson (R-Bentonville) also won Senate nominations.
In District 35, which spans much of eastern Benton County and includes Siloam Springs, Rep. Gayla McKenzie (R-Gravette) will face Tyler Dees in a runoff election on June 21.
There were 51 candidates running for 19 NWA state House seats.
Five were unchallenged for the nomination:
- Rep. Austin McCollum (R-Pea Ridge), District 8.
- Rep. Kendon Underwood (R-Cave Springs), District 16.
- Rep. Delia Haak (R-Siloam Springs), District 17.
- Rep. Denise Garner (D-Fayetteville), District 20.
- Nicole Clowney (D-Fayetteville), District 21.
Winning the nomination for their districts:
- Rebecca Burkes (R-Springdale), District 11.
- Monique Jones (D-Tontitown), District 18.
- Paula Irwin (D-Fayetteville), District 19.
- Brian Hester (R-Farmington), District 22.
- Rep. Charlene Fite (R-Alma), District 24.
- Jody Harris (R-Fayetteville), District 25.
What to watch: The remaining races were either too close to call or data was unavailable as of midnight.
- If a candidate doesn’t receive at least 50% of the vote, they will face a runoff election against the candidate who received the second greatest number of votes.
- The runoff election is June 21.