2012 elections preview: Arkansas voters to select primary winners in congressional, legislative races

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May 21, 2012

By Ballotpedia's Congressional and State legislative teams

The fast-moving primary season of May and June continues tomorrow with elections in Arkansas and Kentucky.

Here's what to watch for in Arkansas, where polling places will be open from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm. When the polls close, any voter in line will be permitted to vote.

Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin initially predicted turnout of around 30 percent, but that figure has been reduced based on low turnout in early voting.[1]

Contested Primaries in Arkansas -- May 22, 2012
U.S. House
(4 seats)
State Legislature
(135 seats)
Total Democratic Contested Primaries 2 (50%) 19 (14.07%)
Total Republican Contested Primaries 1 (25%) 15 (11.11%)


Arkansas has a total of four seats on the ballot in 2012. A total of 14 candidates have filed to run, made up of 8 Democratic challengers, 3 Republican challengers, and 3 incumbents. Including the two states with primaries tomorrow, a total of 117 U.S. House seats have held primaries. Thus far, 57.26% of possible primaries have been contested. Arkansas's contested figure of 37.5% (3 of 8 possible party primaries) is significantly less competitive than the national average.

In the 4 congressional districts, there are 2 Democratic races contested, with two or more candidates running, and 1 Republican contested race. The Democratic races with a single candidate running unopposed include candidate Herb Rule in the 2nd district and candidate Ken Aden in the 3rd district.

The Republican races with a single candidate running unopposed are incumbent Rick Crawford in the 1st district, incumbent Tim Griffin in the 2nd district, and incumbent Steve Womack in the 4th district.

The open seat in Arkansas's 4th district from retiring Democratic incumbent Mike Ross has created a primary contest on both sides, with three candidates battling in each of the Democratic and Republican primaries.

In the 1st district Scott Ellington, Gary Latanich, and state representative Clark Hall are running for the Democratic nomination and the chance to run against incumbent Rick Crawford in the general election.

Members of the U.S. House from Arkansas -- Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 1 0
     Republican Party 3 4
Total 4 4

State legislature

Arkansas State Senate elections, 2012 and Arkansas House of Representatives elections, 2012

There are 135 total legislative seats with elections in 2012 -- 35 Senate seats and 100 House seats.

There are 19 (14.07%) contested Democratic primaries and 15 (11.11%) contested Republican primaries. Thus, there will be 34 races tomorrow with at least two candidates on the ballot. The 12.59% figure of contested primaries in Arkansas is lower than the current national contested average of 24.18% for states that have had filing deadlines.


In the Senate, there are a total of 7 incumbents facing a primary challenge - 4 Democrats and 3 Republicans. Four of the 7 incumbents are facing a challenge from a current member of the State House.

Republican Party District 7: Incumbent Bill Pritchard (R) is running against state representative Bill Pritchard.
Republican Party District 9: Incumbent Bruce Holland (R) faces Rick Green.
Democratic Party District 11: Democratic incumbent Steve Harrelson is challenged by state representative Larry Cowling.
Republican Party District 19: Republican incumbent David Wyatt faces state representative Linda Collins-Smith.
Democratic Party District 24: Incumbent Jack Crumbly (D) is challenged by state representative Keith Ingram.
Democratic Party District 25: Incumbent Stephanie Flowers (D) is running against state representative Efrem Elliott.
Democratic Party District 26: Democratic incumbent Eddie Cheatham faces Johnnie Bolin and Gregg Reep.


In the House, there are a total of 6 incumbents facing a primary challenge - 2 Democrats and 4 Republicans.

Democratic Party District 9: Democratic incumbent Sheilla Lampkin is challenged by Robert Cornelius.
Democratic Party District 47: Incumbent Jody Dickinson (D) is running against WM. Burl Simmons, Jr..
Republican Party District 70: Republican incumbent David Meeks faces Price Dooley.
Republican Party District 76: Incumbent Denny Altes (R) is challenged by Mathew Pitsch.
Republican Party District 81: Incumbent Justin Harris (R) faces Lisa France Norris.
Republican Party District 92: Republican incumbent Mary Slinkard is running against Jim Parsons.

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

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