Arkansas Elections

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/

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 Arkansas House of Representatives chamber.

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.

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/

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.

Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Fresh off a campaign stop in Little Rock, Marco Rubio has secured the support of Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. The Republican governor made his endorsement on Monday with little fanfare following Rubio’s 2,000 strong rally on Sunday evening.

Marco Rubio
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

With just over a week before Election Day in Arkansas, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio campaigned in Little Rock Sunday, warning that an extended fight for the GOP nomination could cost the party the election.

Rock Region Metro transit buses CAT central arkansas transit
David Monteith / KUAR News

Rock Region METRO, formerly known as Central Arkansas Transit, is asking voters to approve a quarter-cent sales tax increase which would generate a projected $18 million, all earmarked for public transit. According to Executive Director Jarod Varner, the additional revenue would allow the organization to be more responsive to current passenger needs and attract new riders.

“Our system is anchored in a funding structure that was developed in 1986 and so it's very difficult to make major service changes. We want to modernize what we do,” said Varner               

Bruce Westerman
Talk Business & Politics

U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, says the Fourth Congressional District could benefit greatly from increased trade with Taiwan. He also says he may walk into the voting booth for the primary election with his mind not made up on a Presidential pick.

Westerman, who appeared on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, said Taiwan is Arkansas’ 6th largest trading partner, but agriculture and timber opportunities could boost trade.

Runner-Up Rubio Heads To Arkansas, Bush's Exit Means Little In State

Feb 20, 2016
Former GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush.

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio is campaigning in Little Rock Sunday, one day after his second place finish in South Carolina's primary. Pundits predict Bush's exit from the race, following a 4th place showing, could help establishment-friendly Rubio or John Kasich. But it likely won't alter the Arkansas political dynamic heading into the March 1 primary.

A Washington-based group has expanded its campaign against Arkansas chief justice hopeful Courtney Goodson, spending more than half a million dollars on television ads and also sending out mailers targeting the sitting justice.

Justice at Stake and the Brennan Center for Justice, which track judicial election spending, said Thursday that the Judicial Crisis Network has spent more than $532,000 on its spots criticizing Goodson over gifts and contributions she's received.

Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson and Circuit Judge Dan Kemp each report raising more than $100,000 last month in their heated race for Arkansas Supreme Court chief justice.

Kemp on Tuesday reported raising slightly more than Goodson in January, with $111,490 in contributions to Goodson's reported $107,300. Goodson also reported loaning her campaign $80,000 in January.

Goodson outspent Kemp, with $144,273 in expenditures, and ended the month with $74,121 cash on hand. Kemp spent $13,771 and has $256,956 in the bank.

Election early vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Early voting in Arkansas begins Tuesday, two weeks before the state’s primary election. Races include the presidential primaries, two state Supreme Court positions, and party challenges for Republicans in the 2nd district of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

Locations will be open through Monday, Feb. 29, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

Stock Photo

As Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders claimed victories in the New Hampshire presidential primary Tuesday, Arkansans now have a renewed sense of the top candidates as the state eyes its own primary 3 weeks away. 

Hillary Clinton Bernie Sanders
Mic Smith/AP/

Three weeks before Arkansas holds its presidential primary election, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign opened its state headquarters in Little Rock Monday. Located at 323 Center Street, officials say it will serve as a place to organize state campaign activities.

Despite having spent decades in Arkansas until the election of her husband Bill Clinton as president in 1992, the state isn't being looked at as an easy win, says Grant Tennille, former director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, who is a Clinton supporter.

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

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told thousands in Arkansas Wednesday night that the Clintons have abandoned their home state. Trump also further laid out claims Texas Senator Ted Cruz stole the Iowa caucus. 

“Give it up, for your next president of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump! Yes! Yes! Yes!," shouted Trump's opening hype man Jonathan Conneely, the founder of a fitness regime for first responders who calls himself Coach JC.

Election vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Monday marks the deadline for Arkansas voters to register to vote in this year's primary election.

Secretary of State Mark Martin says voters can register at county clerks' offices or public assistance offices or print a form online and mail it in.

Early voting begins Feb. 16 for the March 1 primary election, which includes both presidential, state and judicial races. Lawmakers last year approved moving the election up to March 1 so voters can participate in a regional nominating contest known as the "SEC primary."

A nonprofit backed by two former Arkansas Supreme Court justices is urging judicial candidates to disavow "false" communications on their behalf by outside groups in their races.

The Arkansas Judicial Campaign Conduct and Education Committee on Thursday said it was encouraging candidates to sign the pledge before the March 1 judicial elections. The committee's board of directors includes former Justices Annabelle Imber Tuck and Robert L. Brown.

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

The only announced Democratic candidate for the U.S. House seat in central Arkansas called for an increase in federal education spending, moving from a minimum wage to a so-called living wage, and embraced President Obama in an interview with KUAR.

A northwest Arkansas city is getting a second shot at banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as voters weigh whether to challenge a new state law aimed at banning such local protections.

petition signatures signature gathering

An Arkansas law moving up the deadline for independent candidates to present their petition signatures is constitutional because the state has a compelling interest in the earlier date, a district judge ruled Tuesday.

District Judge James Moody ruled that the law is needed to give the state time to process signatures, respond to litigation, and comply with federal law. He granted a summary judgment to the defendant, Mark Martin, Arkansas’ secretary of state. The case is Mark Moore, Michael Harrod, and William Chris Johnson v. Mark Martin.