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Big Voter Turnout in Arkansas Keeps Pro-CU Candidates in Office
Thursday, November 8, 2018 7:00 AM

In the Arkansas midterm elections, all four Republican U.S. Congressman retained their seats:  

  • 1st District Congressman Rick Crawford
  • 2nd District Congressman French Hill
  • 3rd District Congressman Steve Womack
  • 4th District Bruce Westerman

The seven State Constitutional Officers elected were all Republicans:

  • Gov. Asa Hutchinson (2nd 4-year term)
  • Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin (2nd term)
  • Secretary of State John Thurston
  • Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (2nd term)
  • Treasurer Dennie Mulligan (2nd term)
  • Auditor Andrea Lea (2nd term)
  • Commissioner of State Lands Tommy Land

House and Senate Totals for 2019

The 91st General Assembly Senate seats are currently held by 25 Republicans and 9 Democrats, while one seat is vacant. As a result of the midterms, 26 Republicans and 9 Democrats will serve in 2019. All 100 seats in the House of Representative were up for election, and the midterms resulted in little change to party divisions. Currently, Republicans have 75 House seats, Democrats have 23, and Independents have one.

Results of Ballot Measures

Arkansas voters ultimately voted on Issues 2, 4, and 5 at the polls, after Issues 1 and 3 were removed by the Arkansas Supreme Court, though not in time to be removed from the ballot.

The Arkansas State Legislature is allowed to refer up to three constitutional amendments to the ballot for each general election. During the 2017 legislative session, the state legislature referred two:    

  • Issue 1 – SJR8. An amendment concerning Civil Lawsuits and the Powers of the General Assembly and Supreme Court to Adopt Rules. Issue 1 was removed by the Arkansas Supreme Court Oct. 18. It appeared on the ballot, but the votes were not counted.
  • Issue 2 – HJR 1016. An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning the presentation of valid photographic identification when voting. This measure PASSED (with 96 percent reporting 79.54 percent).

Issues 3–5 were qualified for the ballot by more than 84,859 verified Arkansas registered voters who signed a petition to put the proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot.

  • Issue 3 – Arkansas Term Limits Amendment. Was removed by the Arkansas Supreme Court Friday, Oct. 19. While it still appeared on the ballot, the votes were not counted.
  • Issue 4 – Casinos. An Amendment to Require Four Licenses to be Issued for Casino Gaming at Casinos, One Each in Crittenden (to Southland Racing Corporation), Garland (to Oaklawn Jockey Club, Inc.), Pope, and Jefferson County. This amendment PASSED (with 96 percent reporting 54.05 percent). This is the 1st gambling-related proposal in 10 years and the 1st proposed casino amendment since 2000.
  • Issue 5 – An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage. An Act to amend the Arkansas Code concerning the State minimum wage; the Act would raise the current state minimum wage from $8.50 per hour to $9.25 per hour on Jan. 1, 2019, $10 per hour on Jan. 1, 2020, and $11 per hour on Jan. 1, 2021. This measure PASSED (with 96 percent reporting 68.40 percent).

Makeup of the Arkansas Electorate and Candidates

Arkansas’ early voters outpaced those for the 2014 and 2010 General Election midterms with 398,459 having voted as of Monday morning.

Not surprisingly, voter registration increased in 2018 as well. Arkansas now has nearly 1.8 million registered voters according to the Secretary of State’s office. The largest group of registered voters are ages 51-69. The second-largest registered group of voters comprises those 18-34 years old.

More Democrats than Republicans were running for county offices, 778 to 744, according to the Association of Arkansas Counties. Of the 18 senate districts in play, 13 Republicans and 5 Democrats were elected.

More contested races were on the ballot than before, as well as three amendments to the Arkansas Constitution.

Important Dates to Remember

  • The Senate organizational meeting is set for Nov. 28–30.
  • The House Legislative Orientation is set for Dec. 3–6.
  • The 92nd General Assembly will convene Monday, Jan. 14, 2019.

If you have questions about this information, please contact Arkansas Credit Union Association Lobbyist Ron Harrod at rharrod@sbcglobal.net.