Arkansas Elections

Possible Libertarian State House candidate Rick Bernard wearing a t-shirt depicting a turban as a bomb. The image was drawn by Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.

The Libertarian Party of Arkansas is hoping to take advantage of a special election for a north Arkansas state House race. The party announced plans on Monday to hold a special nominating convention in Yellville at the end of this month.

Republican Kelly Linck vacated the legislative seat earlier this year to take a position at the Department of Human Services, leaving just two months left in the term after the special election.

Libertarian Party Vice Chair Christopher Olson expects open-carry activist Rick Bernard to throw his hat in.

KUAR Gets Ready For The GOP Convention

Jul 18, 2016
Donald Trump speaking at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Three Arkansas Republicans will garner much of the limelight for the state at the Republican National Convention with speaking slots, but 40 delegates are also in tow. We’ll be checking in with a handful of Arkansas delegates on the ground in Cleveland throughout this week. 

KUAR will air live coverage of the convention this Monday through Thursday from 7-10 p.m. Tune in to Morning Edition from 6-9 a.m. for recaps and analysis of the night before and previews of the day to come.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee at the state Capitol in November 2015.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was to speak at the Republican National Convention this week, but no more.

Huckabee has sought the Republican presidential nomination twice, most recently placing 9th in Iowa before dropping out . He was to speak in Cleveland along with fellow Arkansans Tom Cotton, Asa Hutchinson, and Leslie Rutledge.

Arkansans Answer: What Would A Better Life Look Like In Your Community?

Jul 15, 2016
Adam Simon (on the left)
Anna Conard / KUAR

This election season, NPR and KUAR are asking: What would a better life look like in your community, and what do you hope politicians can do to help? KUAR's Adam Simon and Anna Conard set out to see what some Arkansans had to say about it. They then sat down with KUAR's Karen Tricot Steward for a debrief.

Interview transcription and photos:

Karen: Adam and Anna, welcome.

Adam & Anna: Thank You. Great to Be Here.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansans may have the chance to vote on two medical marijuana initiatives in November. What happens if both pass? The one with the most votes wins, probably. Talk Business and Politics reports.

File photo. Tom Cotton campaigning in 2014.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Republicans will have a voice, at least two of them, at next week’s Republican National Convention. U.S. Senator Tom Cotton and Governor Asa Hutchinson revealed Wednesday they have been invited to speak in Cleveland, Ohio. The speakers list has not yet been released by convention staff or the campaign of the presumptive nominee Donald Trump.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas voters will again consider a medical marijuana proposal in November. After dropping off box loads of petition signatures at the Secretary of State's office a couple of weeks ago, members of the group Arkansans for Compassionate Care say they got word Thursday that enough were valid.

"We did get official news that we are certified for the ballot with 77,516 valid signatures which is nearly 10,000 over the required number. It's absolutely fabulous," said Campaign Director Melissa Fults.

U.S. Representative French Hill (R-2nd District). File photo.

Central Arkansas’s Congressman French Hill talks with KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman about Brexit and Trump, a Benghazi report years in the making, yet another pass at gun control, and the Pentagon lifting a ban on transgender troops.

KAUFFMAN: The United Kingdom is preparing to chart a new course, leaving the European Union, and conventional wisdom from many economists is this could lead to some trouble – certainly a disruption of a sort. What’s your take?

Medical Marijuana
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The final results from the latest Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College Poll indicate strong support among Arkansas voters for medical marijuana.

A group hoping to put a casino legalization measure on the Arkansas ballot this fall says it has signed an agreement with Cherokee Nation Entertainment to operate one of the casinos.

Arkansas Wins in 2016 announced Thursday the agreement with the Cherokee Nation group to operate a casino proposed in Washington County in northwest Arkansas. The tribe's gaming and hospitality company owns and operates nine casino properties in Oklahoma.

Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Conner Eldridge is criticizing Republican Sen. John Boozman for opposing an effort to prevent terrorists from buying guns, saying an alternative measure backed by the Arkansas lawmaker doesn't go far enough.

Eldridge told the Political Animals Club on Wednesday that he supports a proposal by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein that would have let the federal government block many gun sales to known or suspected terrorists.

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

The Libertarian Party of Arkansas is hoping to ride high hopes for its presidential ticket to automatic placement on the state’s ballot in future elections. On Sunday Libertarians nominated two former Republican governors, Gary Johnson of New Mexico and Bill Weld of Massachusetts, as presidential and vice presidential candidates.

Arkansas party chair Michael Pakko attended the national convention in Orlando and says the volatility of this election cycle gave those there a sense of an opening for the party.

Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives Dianne Curry at KUAR in advance of the filing deadline for the primary election.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas’s largest organized labor group, the AFL-CIO, is backing Democratic U.S. House candidate Dianne Curry. The second district candidate’s campaign made the announcement on Thursday following written confirmation of a vote by the labor group earlier this month.

Curry says she hopes to boost the voice of organized labor in the coming election, “we really have to come back around to the fight for the American family.”

new voting machine counties
Laura Dunnagan / KUAR News

Five Arkansas counties are to receive new voting equipment in time for upcoming elections in the fall. This is the first round of equipment given following a successful trial of the new voting system this spring. Secretary of State Spokesman Chris Powell says the new machines are sorely needed.

“The current equipment that most of the state uses is about 10 years old and is nearing the end of its life cycle, so we are looking to upgrade equipment across the state,” Powell says.

File photo: Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaking to reporters at the Capitol
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas Republicans wasted no time in letting voters know they do not accept President Obama’s directive on transgender access to public school bathrooms and locker rooms while some Arkansas Democrats are keeping a low profile.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

The chairmen of Arkansas' largest political parties managed to agree on how legislators put together a Medicaid expansion plan that uses federal dollars to buy health care insurance for poorer residents.

Democratic Party Chairman Vince Insalaco told the Political Animals club on Tuesday that Republicans had a "Jesus" moment in extending benefits, while Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb said the health care plan is good with "a conservative spin." Through a handful of political machinations, legislators extended what is now called "Arkansas Works."

A screenshot of an advertisement from Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Conner Eldridge linking Republican incumbent John Boozman to presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Conner Eldridge is hoping GOP anxiety that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign will hurt Republicans down the ballot will materialize in his race against incumbent John Boozman. 

The Eldridge campaign released a web advertisement titled “Harassment” on Monday that strings together about a dozen statements made by Mr. Trump demeaning women. 

File. State Rep. Jana Della Rosa (R-Rogers).

A legislative committee is poised this week to consider the purchase of a new campaign finance filing system to allow for electronic uploads and more flexible search tools for the public. State Representative Jana Della Rosa crafted the appropriation measure for the purchase of a $750,000 of a new electronic filing system.

Arkansas' highest court has formed a committee to study judicial election reforms after a pair of state Supreme Court races that were overshadowed by record breaking spending from outside conservative groups.

The Supreme Court on Thursday announced it was forming a committee to look at the issue following the March 1 judicial election. The committee will include Justices Karen Baker, Courtney Goodson, Jo Hart, Rhonda Wood and Robin Wynne.

Independent and moderate voters and those who want a political outsider as president helped Donald Trump win Arkansas' Republican primary on Tuesday, according to interviews with those leaving polling places.

The billionaire businessman also tapped into voter discontent with the federal government and fears about the economy, according to preliminary results of a survey conducted by Edison Research for The Associated Press and television networks.

Circuit Court Judge Dan Kemp will be Arkansas' next chief justice, winning a race in which conservative groups spent a record amount of money targeting his rival.

Kemp defeated Justice Courtney Goodson in Tuesday's nonpartisan judicial election. He succeeds interim Chief Justice Howard Brill in leading the seven-member court.

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

Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has won the Republican presidential primary in Arkansas. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio were battling for second place. 

Trump visited Arkansas on Saturday as part of a swing the so-called "SEC Primary" states. Twelve states set elections or caucuses for Tuesday, including five with Southeastern Conference sports teams.

U.S. Senator John Boozman in the Republican Party of Arkansas headquarters in 2016 during a campaign interview.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman is headed to the November general election after turning back a Republican challenger he also defeated six years ago.

Boozman defeated North Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman on Tuesday in a GOP U.S. Senate primary. He'll face Democrat Conner Eldridge and Libertarian Frank Gilbert in November.

Coleman had said the first-term incumbent wasn't sufficiently conservative. Boozman said he is a strong conservative, citing his endorsement by the National Rifle Association and the National Right to Life Committee.

Hillary Clinton
KATV, Channel 7 News

Former Arkansas first lady Hillary Clinton has won the state's Democratic primary for president for the second time, defeating Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Election vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas voters are turning out at voting precincts across the state to select their choice for president in Republican and Democratic presidential primary elections. Other state and local races are also on the ballot.

Voting at North Little Rock City Hall Tuesday, George and M'Liss Collins, who own a garden center, say they cast their ballots for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary. M'Liss Collins says she thinks Clinton has the experience the nation needs.

Hillary Clinton Bernie Sanders
Mic Smith/AP/


Pragmatism and principle, defining progressivism, and what it would take to regulate Wall Street, those are concerns that have impassioned Democrats this primary.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is campaigning to tackle wealth inequality levels he says haven’t existed since the 1920’s. According to the campaign’s Arkansas Director Sarah Scanlon, Sanders would increase taxes on companies like Arkansas-based Walmart and Tyson Foods to pay for new social programs.

Early Voting Reaches Nearly 26,000 In Pulaski County

Feb 29, 2016
Early voters
Sarah-Koditschek / KUAR

Nearly 26,000 Pulaski County residents have voted early this primary election. Arkansas is one of several states voting in tomorrow’s Super Tuesday primary. 

A continuous line of around 200 voters filed out of the polling place on Markham Street in Downtown Little Rock around noon Monday. KUAR spoke with resident Jim Miles who said he is especially concerned about outside spending in judicial races. 

The Republican presidential field.

The Republican presidential field is narrowing but with former Governor Mike Huckabee out of the race Arkansas has been left more wide-open than ever.

Improbably, Arkansas is occupying a station far above its delegate worth heading into Super Tuesday. This small state, of relative unimportance in the presidential primary scheme, is on the cusp of symbolic importance for anyone not named Trump. Wins are just that hard to come by for Rubio, Cruz, Carson, and Kasich.

Hillary Clinton
KATV, Channel 7 News

Ahead of Super Tuesday and fresh off a resounding victory in South Carolina, Hillary Clinton told a supportive crowd of 1,000 at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Sunday that she is running for president to dismantle barriers.

“We will all do better when we’re in this together, when everybody feels like the future can be theirs,” she said.

Ted Cruz
Talk Business & Politics

Texas Senator Ted Cruz said the GOP Presidential field might well be a two-man race between Donald Trump and himself after Tuesday’s SEC primaries and that contender Marco Rubio should consider leaving the race if he doesn’t win a state in the upcoming 12-state primary.

Cruz, who is in Arkansas campaigning in central and Northwest Arkansas this weekend, says he’s a “proven conservative” whose policies will best contrast with Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in the fall.