Arkansas Elections

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.

All four candidates in the Democratic Primary for central Arkansas's U.S. House seat are seeking to make improvements on the Affordable Care Act. Early voting is underway in the race between Clarke Tucker, Paul Spencer, Jonathan Dunkley, Gwen Combs, and Clarke Tucker. Election Day is May 22nd.

Take a listen to the full report in the audio link above. Individual interviews are below.

Clarke Tucker

Paul Spencer

Jonathan Dunkley

Gwen Combs

There's a four person race to win the Democratic Party nomination to run against U.S. Representative French Hill in Novemeber. Take a listen to KUAR's interviews about the economy with Jonathan Dunkley, Gwen Combs, Clarke Tucker, and Paul Spencer. Early voting is underway, Election Day is May 22nd.

Jonathan Dunkley

Gwen Combs

Clarke Tucker

Paul Spencer

votetrevordrown.com/votejohnthurston.com

Of the many possible shake-ups following the May 22 primary election, one is for Secretary of State. Two Republicans are facing off to replace term-limited incumbent Mark Martin.

State Rep. Trevor Drown and Arkansas Commissioner of State Lands John Thurston are seeking to be their party’s choice to face Democrat Susan Inman and Libertarian Chris Olson in the November general election.

Facebook/Arkansas Secretary of State/Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

There’s one seat up for grabs on the Arkansas’s highest court, and it belongs to Justice Courtney Goodson.

She’s seeking another eight-year term, and has two challengers in the nonpartisan judicial election: state Appeals Court Judge Kenneth Hixson, and Department of Human Services Chief Counsel David Sterling.

And while all three say they want to focus on the issues, a bigger story has loomed large over the race. Both Goodson and Hixson have been the subject of T-V and online ads from dark money groups; ones that don’t have to disclose their donors.

File photo. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R).
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was expected to testify Friday morning in a lawsuit accusing her of obstructing ballot initiatives in her role of approving the language of items being placed on the ballot. But as the hearing was getting underway, it was announced that the trail was being moved from state court to federal court.

It comes just days after Pulaski County Circuit Judge Griffen issued a strongly worded opinion ordering Mr. Rutledge to testify and not allowing her to defer it to a lower level staffer.

There are two candidates for governor on the Democratic primary ballot. Both are political newcomers with different backgrounds, levels of political backing, and degrees of adherence to Democratic Party norms. KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman has this report. Election Day is Tuesday, May 22nd.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is expected to appear in court Friday before Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen. She’s being sued by Alex Gray, a lawyer representing two ballot measure groups, who says she’s not letting the state’s voter-initiated referendum process work.

“Our claim is that the specific subsection the attorney general is using to reject what is now 70 of 70 proposed ballot measures, that provision is unconstitutional,” Gray says.

Actually, another subsection of Article 5, Section 1 of the state constitution — subsection B — allows for the attorney general to rewrite ballot language in anticipation of certification. Rutledge has not done that, Gray alleges in the suit.

The May 22nd Democratic primary ballot features the deciding race for Pulaski County Sheriff. The winner will be unopposed in the November general election. KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman reports on the contest between Carl Minden and Eric Higgins. Sheriff Doc Holladay is not running for re-election.

Take a listen to the audio link above for the full story. 

Leslie Rutledge Attorney General
Talk Business & Politics

A judge is denying a request by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to quash a subpoena calling her to testify in a lawsuit.

A group that has been rejected in its efforts to get language for a ballot initiative approved by the AG’s office argued that Rutledge "has acted in bad faith" and is abusing her power. The Committee to Restore Arkansas’ Rights wants to change the sovereign immunity provision in the state constitution.

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Jared Henderson is out with his first television commercial. It strikes a positive tone and doesn’t mention his primary opponent, Leticia Sanders or Governor Asa Hutchinson. His campaign says it'll be the only TV spot of the primary.

KATV

In an unexpected announcement, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola said he will not seek a fourth term. In an e-mail released on Tuesday morning, Stodola said he'll step aside at the completion of his term because an immediate family member received a serious medical diagnosis.

Stodola issued a letter to the denizens of the Capitol city.

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE CITIZENS OF LITTLE ROCK

Election vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Early voting begins today for the May 22nd primaries and nonpartisan judicial election. Early voting runs Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

Voters can choose either a Republican or Democratic ballot but not both, regardless of political party affiliation. Voters also can get a nonpartisan judicial ballot, independent of or in addition to a party primary ballot.

The nonpartisan judicial races include the contest for Arkansas Supreme Court Associate Justice between David Sterling, Courtney Goodson, and Kenneth Hixson.

Second Congressional District candidate Clarke Tucker is out with his second television ad in as many weeks. Tucker is in a four-person Democratic primary contest along with Jonathan Dunkley, Paul Spencer, and Gwen Combs. His campaign fundraising totals have eclipsed the rest of the field's combined total.

The new ad takes up a centrist issue and tone, in a primary race typified by candidates embracing the term progressive. The ad focuses on employment for veterans and portrays Tucker as a bi-partisan leader saying, "In Congress, I'll work with anyone." 

election voter ID vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas' highest court says the state can enforce a voter ID law in the May 22 primary despite a judge declaring the measure unconstitutional.

The state Supreme Court decision Wednesday overruled a Pulaski County judge who had blocked the law's enforcement. The primary is on May 22, and early voting begins Monday.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray ruled the law was unconstitutional on April 26, and issued a preliminary injunction blocking the state's enforcement of the law less than a month before primary elections. 

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