Arkansas Politics

Election early vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

With the general election less than two weeks away, Arkansans currently have three ways to vote: on Election Day, Nov. 3, during early voting which runs until Nov. 2, or with an absentee ballot, where the deadline to apply to receive one by mail is Oct. 27. 

On the Arkansas absentee ballot application itself, voters must choose between three options for requesting a ballot.

They are:

Candidates for Arkansas' 2nd District Congressional seat speaking with the Delta Grassroots Caucus on Oct. 14. Democratic state Sen. Joyce Elliott (left) spoke first, followed by U.S. Rep. French Hill.
Delta Grassroots Caucus

With recent polling showing a razor-tight race for Arkansas’ 2nd congressional district, money from national political organizations is flowing into Arkansas. As voters are being inundated with negative advertising between the two candidates, they are about to get another chance to hear the candidates’ views.

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This year’s voting process has already experienced more turmoil than most previous elections. In response, the Democratic Party of Arkansas (DPA) announced Friday that it  created a voter protection hotline. 

Arkansas PBS

Government spending and taxes emerged as main topics during a debate between candidates for Arkansas’ 3rd congressional district on Tuesday. 

Republican Congressman Steve Womack, the incumbent, spoke on his experience on the House Budget Committee and his vote for the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the economic impact he said it had.   

Talk Business & Politics

This week, Arkansas PBS will host several Congressional debates and a Senate forum. KUAR will also broadcast the debates at the same time they air on television.

The schedule for the taping and airing of Congressional debates begins on Monday afternoon when incumbent U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, takes on State Sen. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock, in their only head-to-head forum. The schedule is listed below.

League of Women Voters

Economic growth, police and conflict of interest polices were just some of the topics discussed during a forum between North Little Rock Mayoral Candidates Thursday night.

The digital forum, held by the League of Women Voters and the William F. Laman Library, featured all four mayoral candidates: Terry Hartwick, Alice Kunce, Debi Ross and Tracy Steele. Below are the candidates’ abridged answers. You can watch the forum here.

Governor's Office / YouTube

A state task force is recommending all Arkansas high schoolers be required to take a computer science course in order to graduate.

The state’s Computer Science and Cyber Security Task Force presented its final report of recommendations to Gov. Asa Hutchinson Thursday. Speaking with reporters at the state Capitol, Hutchinson said that would require every public high school to have a computer science teacher.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and U.S. Rep. French Hill in television ad released Tuesday for the 2nd district congressman's reelection campaign.

The 2nd Congressional District race between U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, and State Sen. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock, continues to offer the most fireworks and intrigue.

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Talk Business & Politics

A new Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College survey of 698 2nd Congressional District likely voters shows a virtual dead heat between incumbent GOP U.S. Rep. French Hill and his Democratic challenger, State Sen. Joyce Elliott.

2nd District voters are also favoring Joe Biden over President Donald Trump in the Presidential race.

The survey of 698 likely voters from Pulaski, Saline, Faulkner, White, Perry, Conway and Van Buren counties was conducted Sept. 4-9, 2020 and has a margin of error of +/-4.3%.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

If the year 2020 has been a bad weather system, Gov. Asa Hutchinson has survived the storms — a pandemic storm, an economic storm, and a storm of civil unrest. Hutchinson, the two-term Republican governor, has a healthy job approval rating of 70%-26%, according to the latest Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College survey of 698 likely 2nd Congressional District voters.

Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and President Donald Trump on August 2, 2017.
The White House

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., was among 20 additional individuals named by President Trump as potential Supreme Court nominees at the White House on Wednesday.

Talk Business & Politics

U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, launched a new ad in his Second Congressional District re-election campaign that raps Sen. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock, for her votes on taxes, particularly a cell phone fee that partially funds 911 calls.

Tom Cotton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., has been selected for a primetime speaking slot in the Republican National Convention. He will speak on the final night, Thursday, Aug. 27, just ahead of President Donald Trump.

Sen. Cotton, who is running for re-election in 2020 against Libertarian Ricky Harrington, discussed his speech ahead of delivering it with Talk Business & Politics Editor-in-Chief Roby Brock.

ROBY BROCK: You are delivering a primetime speech on the last night of the convention. What will be the essence of this speech, Senator?

French Hill
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, debuted his first TV ad of his 2020 re-election bid on Tuesday.

The ad, “Together,” is an on-camera appeal from Hill discussing COVID-19 and his efforts to bring funding to Arkansas families and businesses for relief.

“I’m so proud to call Arkansas home and that feeling runs deep throughout Arkansas’s Second District,” Hill said in a press release for the ad. “When disaster strikes, like the global pandemic, that’s when the spirit of Arkansas is on full display. We have a resilient work ethic unlike any other.”

A screenshot of Sen. Joyce Elliott's first campaign ad released Tuesday.

Arkansas state Sen. Joyce Elliott (D-Little Rock), the Democratic nominee for the state's Second Congressional District, released her first TV ad of the campaign cycle in her bid to unseat incumbent U.S. Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock).

Linda Collins and Rebecca O'Donnell

Rebecca O’Donnell pleaded guilty Thursday in the death of former Arkansas state Sen. Linda Collins and was sentenced to 50 years in prison. The plea deal includes charges of first-degree murder, abuse of a corpse and two no-contest pleas to solicit murder in Jackson County.

O’Donnell had worked for Smith in her business ventures and on political campaigns. Had she not accepted the deal, O’Donnell was facing a potential death sentence if the case went to trial. 

Jason Rapert Ten 10 Commandments
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

An Arkansas state senator is in the hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Sen. Jason Rapert on Thursday said in a statement provided by the Senate that he was hospitalized after being diagnosed with pneumonia and testing positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The statement said Rapert was responding well to treatment.

Rapert is a 48-year-old Republican who has served in the Senate since 2011. Last year he announced he was seeking the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor in 2022.

Election Voters Voting
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The November election is less than four months away. In Arkansas, the marquee match up is for the second district congressional seat between incumbent U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock and State Sen. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock.  The seat continues to be one Democrats, despite falling short over the last decade, hope to reclaim.

Former U.S. Senator David Pryor (center) at a KUAR-hosted discussion on Oct. 4, 2017 at the main branch of the Central Arkansas Library System.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The family of David Pryor, a former Arkansas governor and U.S. senator, says he's hospitalized in Little Rock after testing positive for COVID-19.

The family's statement said David Pryor and his wife Barbara Pryor both received positive test results Friday. Barbara Pryor, who didn’t have symptoms, is quarantining at home but David Pryor, who is 85 and a stroke and heart attack survivor, was admitted Saturday to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

NBC's Andrea Mitchell questions Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson about the coronavirus pandemic Sunday on "Meet the Press."
NBC News

If President Donald Trump decides to hold a campaign rally in Arkansas, the state will insist that all participants are socially distanced and wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Sunday.

Hutchison’s comments on NBC’s “Meet the Press” follow Trump rallies in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and at an Arizona megachurch, as well as an Independence Day celebration at Mount Rushmore, where most of the thousands of participants flouted public safety guidelines on maintaining a safe distance and wearing masks.

Leslie Rutledge attorney general
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, the first Republican and the first female elected to the office, said Wednesday she will run for governor in 2022.

Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and President Donald Trump on August 2, 2017.
The White House

President Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., are struggling with independent voters in Arkansas less than five months before Election Day.

A new survey from Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College shows that Trump and Cotton have negative job approval ratings with voters, with independents giving them low marks by a double-digit margin. The poll was conducted Tuesday, June 9 and Wednesday, June 10, of 869 statewide likely voters and has a margin of error of +/-3.3%.

Stock Photo

A judge has ruled that a group seeking to create a voter-approved commission to redraw Arkansas’ legislative and congressional lines after each census doesn’t have to collect signatures in person but also can’t use electronic signatures and must abide by the state’s July 3 deadline.

U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes III issued a preliminary injunction May 25 barring the enforcement of a state law requiring signatures to be witnessed in person and also said canvassers don’t have to sign an affidavit with a notary present.

Outgoing Senate President pro Tempore Jim Hndren (R-Gravette) praised members of his chamber for wrapping up the fiscal session in nine days. Budget sessions typically take about a month. Sen. Jimmy Hickey (R-Texarkana) was then elected by senators to ser
Arkansas Citizens Access Network

Arkansas lawmakers concluded the biennial fiscal session in less than two weeks, passing a $5.89 billion budget with significant cuts to most state agencies. The Senate also selected a new leader for the chamber.

With social distancing requiring legislators to conduct business in the Senate chamber and gallery as well as the Jack Stephens Center at the University of Arkansas Little Rock, it was anything but business as usual.

Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration Director of Budget Jake Bleed (left) and Education Secretary Johnny Key at the Joint Budget Committee meeting Wednesday.
Arkansas Citizens Access Network

Legislative leaders expect to wrap up the biennial fiscal session of the Arkansas General Assembly on Thursday. The House and Senate gave initial approval Wednesday to identical versions of the $5.8 billion Revenue Stabilization Act for the budget year that begins in July.

Lawmakers had been pressured to complete the session as quickly as possible given the threat of the COVID-19 outbreak. Fiscal sessions typically last at least a month, but Thursday will be the ninth day for this one.

Governor's Office / YouTube

The number of COVID-19 deaths in Arkansas rose from three to five as of Saturday, with Gov. Asa Hutchinson expressing frustration about supply chain issues that are limiting testing for the pandemic that continues to spread globally. He also said the number of weekly jobless applications in the past week totaled more than 30,000, which followed about 9,400 applications in the prior week.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson signs legislation creating COVID-19 Rainy Day Fund into law just before 1 a.m. Saturday.
Governor's Office / YouTube

The first extraordinary session of the 92nd General Assembly was rather ordinary in its business, but extraordinary in its setting.

Arkansas lawmakers wrapped up a three-day special session to create a COVID-19 Rainy Day Fund. The funding mechanism will collect money from a variety of surplus and discretionary state accounts and be available to handle special money from the federal government, if necessary.

French Hill
Talk Business & Politics

While Congress has already taken steps to address the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, said more help will be on the way.

Arkansas State Capitol
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

A proposal has been filed in Arkansas that would create a new nine-member independent commission to redraw the state's congressional and legislative districts.

Arkansas Voters First on Thursday filed the proposed amendment to the state's constitution that the group hopes to get on the ballot this fall. The group must submit nearly 90,000 signatures from registered voters by July 3 to qualify the measure for the ballot.

Arkansas' legislative districts are redrawn by a panel comprised of the governor, attorney general and secretary of state.

Polling location vote here
Michael HIbblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Democrats coalesced behind Joe Biden in his bid for president on Tuesday. Final results from the Secretary of State’s office show he won by a nearly two-to-one margin over second place finisher Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Arkansas Democratic Primary Results (100% of precincts reporting):

Joe Biden: 40.5
Bernie Sanders: 22.4
Michael Bloomberg: 16.7
Elizabeth Warren: 10.0