Arkansas Elections

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Little Rock mayoral candidates Vincent Tollver, Frank Scott Jr., Baker Kurrus, Warwick Sabin and Glen Schwarz met Monday evening, October 15 at Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock for a forum covering general topics.

Voter ID Vote photo ID
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas voters will be able to consider a casino amendment during next month's election, the state highest court ruled Thursday. The Arkansas Supreme Court also ruled in favor of the constitutionality of a voter ID law passed by the Legislature last year.

In one casino case brought by Ensuring Arkansas’ Future, the petitioners raised 27 challenges to Issue 4, which would allow casino operations at Oaklawn and Southland and also at sites in Pope County and Jefferson County.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Little Rock mayoral candidates Warwick Sabin, Glen Schwarz, Frank Scott Jr., Vincent Tolliver and Baker Kurrus met Monday evening, October 10, 2018 at Roosevelt Thompson Library in Little Rock for a forum with questions focused on education.

This is the fourth in a series of five forums with candidates for Little Rock Mayor on topics including economic opportunity, crime, infrastructure and education.

Daniel Breen / KUAR

Little Rock mayoral candidates Warwick Sabin, Glen Schwarz, Frank Scott Jr., Vincent Tolliver and Baker Kurrus met Monday evening, September 24 at Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library in Little Rock for a forum with questions focused on infrastructure. 

This is the third in a series of five forums with candidates for Little Rock Mayor on topics including economic opportunity, crime, infrastructure and education.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Little Rock mayoral candidates Warwick Sabin, Glen Schwarz, Frank Scott Jr., Vincent Tolliver and Baker Kurrus met Monday evening, September 10 at Dee Brown Library in Little Rock for a forum with questions focused on economic opportunity.

This is the first in a series of five forums with candidates for Little Rock Mayor on topics including economic opportunity, crime, infrastructure and education.

Activists on both sides of tort reform say they’ll proceed with their voter education campaigns despite a judge’s ruling stated that so-called Issue One is not qualified for the November ballot in Arkansas.

At a Northeast Arkansas Political Animals forum held at the Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce on Friday, speakers debated the merits of caps limiting medical malpractice awards and said the conversation will continue, despite Pulaski County Circuit Judge Mackie Pierce’s ruling on Sept. 6 that the proposed amendment does not meet a “single-subject test.” 

That ruling is being challenged by Arkansans for Jobs and Justice.

Salfalko via Flickr, Creative Commons

An Arkansas judge has disqualified a ballot measure that would limit the damages awarded in civil lawsuits and would give the state Legislature control over court rules.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Mackie Pierce on Thursday ruled that the proposal lawmakers put on the November ballot violates the state's constitution by combining disparate measures into one amendment. The proposed amendment caps noneconomic and punitive damages awarded in lawsuits and also places limits on attorneys' contingency fees.

Election vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A proposal to legalize casinos in Arkansas has been approved for the November ballot.

Secretary of State Mark Martin's office on Wednesday said supporters of the proposed constitutional amendment submitted more than the nearly 85,000 signatures from registered voters required to put the proposal on the ballot. Martin's office said it had determined 99,988 valid signatures were submitted.

Daniel Breen / Arkansas Public Media

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Wednesday released her full personnel file from her time at the state Department of Human Services, two days after a judge ordered the files opened.

In a conference with reporters Wednesday, Rutledge produced the eight previously unreleased pages of her file regarding work performance and filing for unemployment benefits.

Arkansas Board of Apportionment

On a gray afternoon, Nick Wiench walks to the University of Central Arkansas's Torreyson Library. He studies philosophy and film, not political science, but he's concerned about an easily-overlooked part of the electoral system.

"I know gerrymandering is the thing where they split up basically the districts almost by Republican and Democrat to try and get the most votes into their own political party. It's kind of biased, in a way… but I'm not sure exactly how we can fix it," Wiench said. "It's not exactly a smooth thing that we can do."

But now, two almost identical proposals are seeking to change the way Arkansas draws both its congressional and state legislative districts. 

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's departure from the state Department of Human Services more than a decade ago is the subject of a new lawsuit filed Thursday on behalf of the state Democratic Party.

The lawsuit, filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court on behalf of party spokesman Reed Brewer, alleges the Department of Human Services violated the Freedom of Information Act by withholding parts of Rutledge's personnel file during her time as a staff attorney at the department.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Term Limits spokesman Tim Jacob says it’s time for the wishes of state voters to be honored and this year’s term limits proposal should keep lawmakers from altering them in the future.

On Friday, supporters of a proposal to curtail term limits gained approval of signatures from the Secretary of State’s office to qualify for the November ballot.

Arkansas Secretary of State

Friday was the deadline for groups hoping to put proposals before Arkansas voters in November to deliver signed petitions to the state. 

Three groups, two putting forth constitutional amendments and one an initiated act, hauled in box loads of petitions throughout the day to the Secretary of State's office. Among the petitioners are groups seeking to allow casino gaming, raise the minimum wage, and impose overall term limits on state legislators.

As it approaches 100 degrees, the roofline of Stickyz Rock 'n' Roll Chicken Shack shades about 2 feet of the sidewalk along President Clinton Avenue in downtown Little Rock.

That's where canvasser Cynthia Ford sets up. She's carrying signature rolls for three ballot items.

Lance Cheung/Flickr

Advocates for the hungry in Arkansas are hoping the U.S. Senate’s farm bill will not include House-approved work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  (SNAP). All four members of Arkansas’s House delegation voted for the $867 billion farm bill, which requires most able-bodied adults work 20 hours per week or enroll in job training in order to keep food benefits.

Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance Director Kathy Webb worries the work requirement will end up harming those that SNAP is supposed to benefit.

Second Congressional District candidate Clarke Tucker (D).
clarketucker.com

U.S. House hopeful Clarke Tucker, D-Ark, is opposing the possible use of Arkansas facilities to house migrant children and families detained at the U.S.-Mexico border and rejecting his opponent's claims he's in lock-step with Democratic national figures. While President Donald Trump has ordered a halt to his zero-tolerance policy of separating children from their families at the southern border, federal officials are still planning to scout potential detainment sites in Arkansas on Thursday, including the Little Rock Air Force Base.

U.S. Rep. French Hill speaking at a meeting of the House Financial Services Committee on March 22, 2016.
C-SPAN

U.S. Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.) says current immigration law justifies the Trump administration's decision to implement a zero tolerance policy that separates children from their parents if they illegally cross the border with Mexico. However, Hill says he does not support children being separated from their families and is urging Congress to pass legislation to fix the problem, while putting the blame on past presidential administrations for the creation of the law.

Rep. Mat Pitsch and former Rep. Frank Glidewell will face eachother in the Republican party runoff on Tuesday, June 19, 2018.
mathewpitsch.com and glidewellforsenate.com

Primary runoff elections will be held across Arkansas on Tuesday.

There are two state legislative races. One is to fill the vacated seat of former Sen. Jake Files, who pleaded guilty to bank fraud and was sentenced to 18 months in prison on corruptions charges. The Republican primary runoff for the seat in western Arkansas, Senate District 8, is between two Fort Smith denizens: Former Rep. Frank Glidewell and current Rep. Mat Pitsch.

Oaklawn Racing & Gaming

Arkansas is one of just seven states that does not spend money to support gambling addiction treatment.

WWW.JAREDFORARKANSAS.COM/

Democratic gubernatorial challenger Jared Henderson tells KUAR he is in favor of an initiative to raise Arkansas's minimum wage to $11 an hour. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has yet to comment and Libertarian Mark West opposes the ballot measure, as well as the concept of a minimum wage.

The ballot item would incrementally raise the state's minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2022. It’s currently $8.50 an hour. Canvassers need to collect 67,887 valid signatures to qualify the initiative for the November ballot.

Henderson calls the gradual approach “thoughtful” and “responsible.”

Leslie Rutledge Attorney General
Talk Business & Politics

Arkansas' attorney general has approved the wording for ballot measures that would raise the minimum wage, legalize casinos and change the redistricting process. That's after the state Supreme Court ordered her to certify the wage-hike proposal.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge certified the measures on Wednesday, hours after justices gave her three days to approve or substitute language for a proposed initiated act to gradually raise Arkansas' minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2022. The sponsor of the measure sued after Rutledge had previously rejected its wording.

Justice Courtney Goodson and Department of Human Services Chief Counsel David Sterling are headed for a runoff in the Arkansas Supreme Court race, while Commissioner of State Lands John Thurston was leading in the secretary of state’s race.

Late Tuesday, Goodson led the three-person race with 37.28% of the vote. Sterling was second with 33.82%. Court of Appeals Judge Kenneth Hixson trailed with 28.9%.

Because no candidate reached 50%, Goodson and Sterling will face each other in a runoff as part of the general election Nov. 6.

Clarke Tucker
Jackson Floyd / KUAR News

Arkansas State Rep. Clarke Tucker, D-Little Rock, won the Democratic Party’s nomination in the 2nd Congressional District race Tuesday, avoiding a runoff and moving on to challenge U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, in the general election.

In other races, U.S. Reps. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, and Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, were on their way to easily defeating their Republican Party challengers.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

U.S. District Court Judge Kristine Baker is set to hear arguments Thursday in Little Rock concerning a back-and-forth civil case pitting Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and a Little Rock law firm seeking to clarify the state’s repeated rejection of proposed constitutional amendments.

The Arkansas Republican Party primary race between Governor Asa Hutchinson and television pundit Jan Morgan pits one of the nation’s most popular governors against a far right firebrand, who made a brief mark on the national stage for banning Muslims from her firing range.

Take a listen to the full audio report in the link above.

Tuesday, May 22nd is Election Day. Polls are open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Donald Trump speaking at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

As Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson faces a challenge from the right in Tuesday’s Republican primary election, he now has the backing of President Trump.

The endorsement came in the form of a tweet Monday evening after Hutchinson and four other Republican governors dined with the president at the White House to discuss border security and other issues. Trump wrote on Twitter that Hutchinson had “done an incredible job with a focus on lower taxes, border security and crime prevention.”

Baker Kurrus Little Rock School District LRSD
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

And then there were three — again.

On Monday Baker Kurrus announced he would seek the office of Little Rock Mayor, adding his name to the field that includes Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock) and banker Frank Scott.

Kurrus said in a short statement provided to Talk Business & Politics:

I have decided to seek the office of Mayor of Little Rock, my hometown. I will be announcing my plans for the campaign and my ideas for our city on or shortly after June 1, 2018. I look forward to an exciting five months ahead.

Primary elections are set for May 22, the same day as the deciding nonpartisan judicial election for Arkansas Supreme Court Associate Justice. Three candidates, including the incumbent, are vying for the seat.

Justice Courtney Goodson was elected in 2010, and is seeking another eight-year term on the bench. Arkansas Department of Human Services Chief Legal Counsel David Sterling and state Appeals Court Judge Kenneth Hixson are running to unseat Goodson. 

A couple of high profile Democrats are on their way out of the Arkansas House to seek higher office. In this article, KUAR takes a look at the race for House District 35, as state Representative Clarke Tucker seeks higher office.

The race to replace him is between political newcomers Annie Depper and Andrew Collins.

An Arkansas judge has postponed a hearing on a state Supreme Court justice's third lawsuit aimed at halting a conservative group's TV ad attacking her during her re-election bid.

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