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Ballotpedia's 2012 General Election Preview Articles: Arkansas State Legislature

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October 30, 2012

By Ballotpedia's State legislative team

Arkansas's State Legislative Elections in 2012
Senate seats Contested senate seats House seats Contested house seats
35 16 (45.7%) 100 48 (48.0%)

Little Rock: Arkansas: There are 135 total legislative seats with 2012 elections in Arkansas, where polling places will be open from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm.[1]

After a strong Republican showing in the 2010 elections, Democrats control both chambers by slim margins heading into the 2012 election. "The elections that matter to the state Republican Party are the legislative elections of 2012, which are going to determine who controls both houses of the Legislature," said Jay Barth, a political science professor at Hendrix College.[2]

In the state senate Democrats currently hold 20 seats and Republicans currently hold 15. With 8 Democrats retiring, the chamber could potentially flip to Republicans if they can pick up three seats.

With 46 of 100 seats in the state house, Republicans must gain 5 to take control of the chamber, or 4 to split power evenly. 26 Democrats and 10 Republicans are retiring in 2012.

The Arkansas legislature has been in Democratic control since the end of the Civil War, and is currently the last Southern state to have a Democratic legislature. Small government group Americans for Prosperity has heavily invested in races in the state in an effort to flip the chambers.[3]

Of the 135 incumbents up for election in 2012, 87 (64.44%) of them are running for re-election. A total of 64 of 135 (47.4%) districts will see more than one major party candidate in the general election.

Here are a few races to watch:


Arkansas State Senate
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 20 14
     Republican Party 15 21
Total 35 35

Arkansas House of Representatives
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 54 49
     Republican Party 46 51
Total 100 100


See also