Secretary of State Mark Martin’s office hasn’t predicted yet how many of Arkansas’ registered voters will show up to the ballots in today’s primary and nonpartisan judicial elections.
Today’s election is also the first in which voters will be required by state law to show photo identification before casting a ballot. The Arkansas Supreme Court earlier this month ruled the state can enforce the revived voter ID law, despite a judge finding the measure unconstitutional.
President Donald Trump endorsed Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson Monday night, ahead of today’s primary election. The governor dined with Trump Monday night in Washington to discuss immigration.
In a tweet, Trump wrote that the first-term governor has done an “incredible job” on tax cuts, border security and crime prevention. Hutchinson, who was first elected in 2014, faces fellow Republican Jan Morgan, a gun range owner who made headlines in 2014 for declaring her business a “Muslim Free Zone.”
Polling suggests Hutchinson, who’s among the nation’s most popular governors, is a favorite over the far-right firebrand. The incumbent received a 65 percent statewide approval rating, according to the poll, which surveyed 625 registered Arkansas voters in March. A recent unscientific Arkansas Money & Politics poll showed overwhelming support for the political newcomer.
Hutchinson is touting his $150 million in tax cuts, a nation-leading high school computer coding initiative and state’s lowest unemployment levels in history in his bid for re-election.
Jared Henderson, a Harvard graduate and former Teach for America official, and Leticia Sanders, a hair braider from Maumelle, are seeking the Democratic nomination for governor. Henderson is considered the overwhelming favorite to secure his party’s nomination.
Central Arkansas Democrats will choose the party’s nominee for a Republican-held U.S. House seat, which the party believes it has a chance to reclaim this fall.
The national party has aligned with state Rep. Clarke Tucker, considering him the party’s best chance to reclaim the 2nd Congressional District, which covers Little Rock and seven central Arkansas counties. The seat is currently held by Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill.
Tucker has out-raised his primary opponents and has run ads discussing his battle with cancer. He’s running against schoolteachers Paul Spencer and Gwen Combs, and Jonathan Dunkley, the director of operations for the University of Arkansas’ Clinton School of Public Service.
Incumbent Rep. Steve Womack, in Northwestern Arkansas’ 3rd Congressional District, is being challenged by Fayetteville pastor Robb Ryerse in the GOP primary. Republican Rep. Bruce Westerman, who represents southern and western Arkansas’ 4th District, is being challenged by Randy Caldwell, also a preacher.
Republicans control all of the state’s federal offices and its statewide partisan offices, as well as a majority in both chambers of the Legislature.
An Arkansas Supreme Court justice is seeking re-election in a campaign that’s been overshadowed by attack ads from an out-of-state political organization.
State Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson has been the target of negative television ads, as well as mailers, from conservative groups as she seeks re-election on the state’s highest court.
Goodson is running against Appeals Court Judge Kenneth Hixson and Department of Human Services Chief Counsel David Sterling for the nonpartisan seat. The Judicial Crisis Network targeted Goodson during her unsuccessful campaign to be chief justice in 2016. This year, the group has spent more than $871,000 on TV ads, criticizing Goodson and Hixson.
The Republican State Leadership Committee has spent more than $564,000 on TV ads and mailers in support of Sterling, according to the Associated Press.
Arkansas’ 2,749 precincts will be open until 7:30 p.m. for the state’s primary and judicial general election. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff will be held. For party primaries, the runoff is June 19. For court races, the runoff will be in November.