Arkansas Elections

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.
connereldridgeforarkansas.com

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).
arkansashouse.org

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.
KUAR News

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/www.NPR.org

  

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.
NPR

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.

Brock Olree and French Hill (left to right).
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

It’s been a quiet contest but U.S. Representative French Hill is facing a Republican primary challenger for the 2nd District seat. His challenger Brock Olree wants to bring trade deals to the forefront of the congressional race in central Arkansas.

“Employment statistics for these seven counties, there are only about 1,500 more people employed now than there were in 2007, so we need faster economic growth,” said Rep. French Hill.

KUAR's Week In Review: It's All Primary Politics

Feb 26, 2016

The week before Arkansas’s primary has the KUAR staff talking all things primary for this edition of the Week in Review podcast.

A Democratic blogger and attorney has filed an ethics complaint against Arkansas Judge Dan Kemp that accuses the chief justice hopeful of violating judicial rules in a plea deal approved last year.
 
Kemp's campaign called Thursday's complaint a "cheap political stunt." A local prosecutor negotiated the deal and said in a statement provided by the campaign that he did so more than a year before Kemp launched his bid.
 

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

Republican presidential contender Donald Trump’s campaign is brushing off Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinon’s remarks that the candidate’s rhetoric is “frightening.” The governor made the comment this week on National Public Radio after endorsing Marco Rubio in the state’s March 1 primary.

Trump campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson said she hasn’t listened to the full interview but has heard the sentiment before from establishment figures.

US Senator John Boozman, Curtis Coleman (left to right).
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas's senior U.S. Senator John Boozman appears to be well-entrenched heading into the March 1 primary, but challenger Curtis Coleman says the sitting Senator is not the conservative voice the state needs in Washington.

An Arkansas judicial campaign watchdog group has issued a cease and desist letter to an out-of-state group running ads against Little Rock attorney Clark Mason in the race for an associate state Supreme Court justice spot. The group, consisting mostly of current and former Arkansas Judges and legal professionals, called the Arkansas Campaign Conduct and Education Committee, Inc.

Asa Hutchinson Michael Hibblen
Governor's Office

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is calling Donald Trump’s words "frightening" and hopes his endorsement of Sen. Marco Rubio can help sway the tide in the Republican presidential primary in Arkansas. His pointed comments about the Republican front-runner came during an interview aired nationwide Wednesday during NPR’s All Things Considered.

Hutchinson agreed that Trump is doing remarkably well, "and he’s getting better in terms of being more disciplined in his approach, but I’m not sure anybody is clear where he is philosophically."

Ted Cruz Donald Trump
Carolyn Kaster/AP/npr.org

The Presidential campaign continues to stir activity across Arkansas with less than a week before the primary election. On the heels of Marco Rubio's visit to Little Rock Sunday, Donald Trump, who has been to the state twice for events, plans to speak at noon on Saturday at the regional airport in Bentonville. Ted Cruz, whose campaign says he has been here five times, is expected to attend church in Northwest Arkansas, then attend a rally in central Arkansas.

THE ANTI-TRUMP EFFORT

The Arkansas House of Representatives chamber.
arkansashouse.org

Democrats in Arkansas don’t hold any congressional seats or control any branch of government but there are some spots on the map, at the state legislative level, where the party hopes to make advances.

An open seat for the state House, HD38, a district that narrowly turned Republican in 2014 is giving Democrats hope to make up for a lot of ground lost since the state’s GOP shift.

But first, Democrats have to settle who their nominee will be for the district containing parts of North Little Rock and Sherwood.

Justice Courtney Goodson says she's loaned another $211,000 to her campaign to lead the Arkansas Supreme Court as she heads into the final week before the March 1 election.

Goodson reported loaning her campaign for chief justice a total of $466,000 since launching her bid last year. She's running against Circuit Judge Dan Kemp for the seat. Tuesday was the deadline to file pre-election fundraising reports.

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

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump is headlining a rally in northwest Arkansas days before the state's primary.

Trump's campaign says the billionaire and reality television star will hold a rally Saturday in Bentonville. It's his third trip to Arkansas since launching his bid for the Republican nomination last year and comes a few days before the state's March 1 primary.

Arkansas Senate Chamber in the state Capitol building.
arkansas.gov

The presidential primary is eating up the attention of most voters but beneath the national whirlwind is a split dividing Arkansas Republicans in races for the state legislature. The margins in the state senate are so slim that a change in just of one of the chamber’s three contested races could punch a hole in Governor Asa Hutchinson’s budget.

“In all candor, the number one objective for the senate is to stop the Obamacare Medicaid expansion,” said Copeland.

Even in Arkansas, Clinton Struggles For Millennial Vote

Feb 22, 2016

It's been widely talked about: Hillary Clinton's millennial problem. Over 80 percent of people under age 30 voted for Bernie Sanders in the first three primaries. Even in Arkansas, where Clinton was once first lady, she does not appear to have a strong lead over Sanders among young people. 

Hillary Clinton
John Locher/AP/npr.org

Three former governors, 16 lawmakers and the chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party are helping Hillary Clinton's presidential bid in Arkansas as next week's primary approaches.

Clinton's campaign on Monday announced its state Leadership Council, a group of more than 150 elected officials and community leaders backing the former secretary of state's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Clinton is running against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the March 1 Arkansas primary.

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