Arkansas Elections

Arkansas Times

Grassroots electoral organizing in the Indivisible and "Resistance" strain continues to gain steam in Arkansas, with the launch this week of a new project Progressive Latinx in Arkansas Politics. Springdale-based organizer Irvin Camacho is spearheading the effort. He says the moment is right for Arkansas’s growing Latino population to become ingrained in the state’s electoral politics.

One of the many items being shuffled around Congress in short-term spending crises is funding for Community Health Centers. KUAR's Jacob Kauffman talks with U.S. Representative French Hill (R-2nd District) about healthcare, a short-term budget deal against a government shutdown deadline, and November elections.

Voter ID Vote photo ID
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A lawsuit challenging Arkansas' new voter ID law has been filed, arguing the requirement causes the same problems as a nearly identical law that was struck down four years ago.

The lawsuit filed by a voter in Pulaski County Circuit Court on Wednesday is challenging the measure's constitutionality ahead of the state's May 22 primary. Early voting for the primary begins May 7.

State Rep. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock).
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

State Rep. Clarke Tucker says he will seek the Democratic nomination for Arkansas’s second congressional district. The lawmaker from Little Rock announced Monday he will file paperwork for the office later this month.

Democrats Paul Spencer and Gwen Combs are also seeking the party’s nomination. Incumbent Republican Congressman French Hill is running for his third term.

Governor Asa Hutchinson opened his campaign headquarters this week but he'll have to defeat his Republican primary opponent in May if he wants to make it to November. Hot Springs business owner and political pundit Jan Morgan has been taking the fight to the incumbent governor, traversing the state to talk to a host of varied groups. Morgan spoke with KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman about what separates her from Hutchinson.

Regnat Populus Chairman Paul Spencer
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Second District U.S. Congressional hopeful Paul Spencer is characterizing his end of the year fundraising efforts as a vindication of his principles to never take PAC or corporate money for his 2018 election effort. Spencer’s position that only individual donors should contribute to electoral campaigns is not shared by his Democratic primary opponent Gwen Combs or Republican incumbent French Hill.

A Democrat Enters The 2018 Arkansas Governor's Race

Dec 12, 2017
Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Jared Henderson.
KUAR

A Democrat has announced intent to run for the governor’s office in 2018. Jared Henderson was the executive director of Teach for America’s Arkansas division from 2013 to 2017 and is centering his campaign in part on “making teachers one of the most important professions in the state.” The 39-year old Arkansas native declared Tuesday he’s seeking his party’s nomination.

Gwen Combs at the Women's March for Arkansas in January 2017.
Combs Campaign.

Democrat Gwendolynn Combs marked her entrance into the 2nd Congressional District race on Monday night with a campaign launch event in downtown Little Rock. Combs’s presence means a Democratic primary between her and Paul Spencer. The winner will face Republican incumbent French Hill who is seeking a third-term in the U.S. House.

KUAR spoke with Spencer earlier this year at the time he announced his intent to run.

East Arkansas Democrats will have a primary election on their hands for the First District Congressional seat. Chintan Desai announced today he’s seeking the party’s nomination and to unseat Republican incumbent Rick Crawford in 2018.

In a campaign launch statement, Desai immediately points out that his roots are outside of Arkansas, “I wasn’t born or raised here, but I’ve been proud to call Arkansas home for the past seven years.” The California native is the son of Indian immigrants. Arkansas has never elected a person who isn’t white to Congress.

Leslie Rutledge attorney general
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas’s Attorney General is the new chair of the Republican Attorneys General Association. The organization primarily focuses on raising election funds for Republican incumbents.

In addition to trying to fulfill the obligations of serving as this state’s attorney general, Leslie Rutledge has agreed to take on the task of leading a major national campaign fundraising organization. The Republican Attorneys General Association has raised $14 million so far this year to help elect Republicans as attorney general.

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

Arkansas' attorney general's office has rejected language proposed for a 2018 ballot issue, saying the attempt to legalize marijuana is too ambiguous to make sense.

In a letter dated Friday but released Monday, the attorney general's office expressed concerns about a provision that allowed a grower to have 25 mature plants and 25 non-mature plants. If one of the 25 non-mature plants matures, giving a grower 26 mature plants, what should happen next?

Frank Scott, Jr.
frankscottjr.com

Banker Frank Scott, Jr. is considering entering the Little Rock mayoral race. The life-long Little Rock resident said on Tuesday he’s exploring a 2018 bid. His interest follows announcements by state Representative Warwick Sabin and Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola. 

Scott says facilitating economic development through infrastructure improvement is a top priority. The former State Highway Commissioner is in favor of one such project – the widening of Interstate 30 through downtown – that has met opposition in public comments to the regional transportation planning agency Metroplan.

Mike Nelson (far left) sports an eye patch during a town hall meeting.
Talk Business and Politics

One of two Democrats seeking the nomination to run for the U.S. House seat representing east Arkansas's 1st District is bowing out of the race due to an undisclosed pending legal issue. Mike Nelson, an Arkansas County farmer, had already been busy attending a range of forums and civic clubs. 

The Arkansas Supreme Court has rejected an effort to make it easier to challenge proposed constitutional amendments placed on the ballot by the Legislature.

Justices on Thursday rejected an attorney's request to change court rules to allow challenges to be filed directly with the state Supreme Court over proposed amendments referred to voters by the Legislature. The proposal would have also required the same standard on ballot measures initiated by voters to be used on legislatively referred ones.

Susan Inman
AETN

A former state and local elections official says she's making another run for Arkansas secretary of state.

Susan Inman announced Tuesday she's seeking the Democratic nomination for the post, currently held by Republican Mark Martin. Martin was first elected to the post in 2010 and is barred from seeking re-election next year because of term limits.

An educator and activist says she's running for a U.S. House seat in central Arkansas, becoming the second Democrat to launch a bid to unseat the district's incumbent Republican congressman.

Gwendolynn Combs announced Monday she's filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for the 2nd Congressional District.

Voter ID Vote photo ID
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas' revived law requiring voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot will be put to the test as soon as it takes effect this week, with early voting beginning for five local sales tax elections.

Voters heading to the polls early in three cities and two counties Tuesday for special elections on sales tax measures will be required to show photo ID before casting a ballot, or sign a sworn statement confirming their identity under the law approved by the Legislature earlier this year.

Mark Martin
Arkansas Times

Arkansas has again submitted some of the information sought by a commission formed by President Donald Trump to investigate allegations of voter fraud in the 2016 election.

Secretary of State Mark Martin's office said it had submitted the information Thursday afternoon to the panel after it renewed its request for publicly available information about the state's voters. The state had submitted identical information to the panel earlier this month, but the data was deleted as the commission held off on its requests from the states due to a legal challenge.

Voter ID Vote photo ID
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A legislative panel has cleared the way for Arkansas to begin enforcing its reinstated voter ID law later this year.

The executive subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council on Thursday approved the state Board of Election Commissioners emergency rule enforcing the new law requiring voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot. Those without photo identification can sign a sworn statement saying they're registered to vote in the state.

Paul Spencer is running for Congress.
Youtube

It’s now official, Paul Spencer announced on Thursday he is running as a Democrat to unseat Republican French Hill as central Arkansas’s U.S. Representative. The decision comes on the same day Senate Republicans released a revised version of legislation to repeal much of the Affordable Care Act. 

Check out this interview with Spencer when he announced an exploratory committee back in June.

Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is recommending Arkansas not provide all voter information requested by the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. President Trump set up the commission to investigate claims of voter fraud in November's presidential election.

In a statement Wednesday on Twitter, Hutchinson said he has spoken with Secretary of State Mark Martin and concluded the request is "too board and includes sensitive information" about Arkansas voters.

Libertarian Party of Arkansas Chair Michael Pakko with over 15,000 signatures to be submitted to the Secretary of State's office for ballot access. May 2016.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

For the fourth consecutive election cycle, the Libertarian Party of Arkansas plans to deliver petitions to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office on Monday to become a “new political party” for the 2018 election.

Because the party failed to win 3% of the electoral vote in the 2016 presidential race that swept Republican nominee Donald Trump into the White House, Arkansas law requires a new political party to collect 10,000 valid voter signatures during a 90-day period.

Voter ID Vote photo ID
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers have approved a measure requiring voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot, sending to the governor's desk a requirement that was struck down as unconstitutional more than two years ago.

The House had already approved a previous version of the legislation. On Monday, it signed off on changes added by the Senate that allow voters without identification to cast a provisional ballot if they sign a sworn statement.

Voter ID Vote photo ID
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers are putting a voter ID measure on the ballot next year as they try to reinstate a requirement that was struck down by the state Supreme Court more than two years ago.

The Senate on Tuesday approved by a 24-8 vote a plan to put the proposed constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot. The proposed amendment says the Legislature shall approve a law requiring voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot.

Voter ID Vote photo ID
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas House has passed a resolution that, if approved by voters, would require residents to present photographic identification in order to vote.

A proposed constitutional amendment by Republican Rep. Robin Lundstrum would also require the state to issue IDs at no charge to eligible voters if they don't already have one.

Lundstrum says the measure approved by the House on Thursday will help ensure voter security at the ballot.

Voter ID Vote photo ID
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas House has approved a plan to reinstate a voter ID law that was struck down more than two years ago, with Republicans counting on a mostly new state Supreme Court to uphold the measure.

The majority-Republican House voted 74-12 Tuesday to require voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot, easily clearing the two-thirds vote needed to advance. The measure now heads to the majority-GOP Senate.

Arkansas State Capitol
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

It's likely over 2,000 bills will be filed during this legislative session and just over 300 have been filed so far. Legislation impacting special elections, a Blue Ribbon taxes task force, executions, and hand guns were filed on Wednesday.

KUAR will be keeping track throughout this legislative session. A round-up from Wednesday includes:

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said Tuesday the fact that Republicans now control the White House, Congress and so many governors' mansions has left her "giddy."

Haley and the rest of the Republican Governors Association are meeting this week in Orlando, Fla., to discuss their party's victories last week and how they hope to work with President-elect Donald Trump.

Republicans Celebrate Big Wins in Arkansas

Nov 9, 2016

Election Day proved to be very fruitful for Republicans in Arkansas. Results generally came in as predicted by polling for a state that has turned solidly red while President Barack Obama was in office.

Incumbent Senator John Boozman easily won re-election, as did the state’s four members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Only one of the four had a Democratic challenger.

Boozman says he’s ready to focus on the things that matter to Republicans.

Senator John Boozman will start a second term in the US Senate this January after defeating Democratic challenger Conner Eldridge last night. Boozman says he’s ready to focus on the things that matter to Republicans.

“… Things like the regulatory burden that’s on our businesses, that are putting a wet blanket again and costing us jobs, healthcare cost – the average Arkansan’s seen his premiums go up dramatically with $5,000-$10,000 deductibles. We’ve got to come together and solve those problems,” Boozman said.

Pages