I have gotten several State Senate announcements this week. I am sure I am still missing some, but let me try to round up the latest….
- Rep. Jon Woods (R-Springdale) announced today that he will seek the district 7 State Senate seat. This seat is currently held by Sen. Bill Pritchard (R-Elkins) who plans to seek re-election – meaning this one will likely see a primary. “As a House member, I’ve worked to lower the tax burden on families and businesses, and I’ve supported legislation that encourages job creation and economic growth. That will continue to be my priority in the State Senate,” said Woods in his announcement.
- Former Rep. Jim Henden (R-Gravette) announced via Facebook that he will seek the district 2 State Senate seat currently held by his father who is term-limited. "I am excited about being part of the Republican team that finally captures control of the Arkansas Senate. Republicans will have a tremendous opportunity to move Arkansas forward to a position of national leadership," said Hendren in his announcement. Rep. Jonathan Barnett (R-Siloam Springs) – of the "Jonathan Barnett Highway" – is also thinking about running.
- Pulaski County JP Jim Sorvillo (R-Little Rock) announced on Wednesday that he plans to run for State Senate district 32. This seat is held by Sen. David Johnson (D-Little Rock) who plans to run for re-election. Johnson is one of the most ethical (one of the few legislators to take no expense reimbursements) and also one of the most liberal members of the senate (one of three Senators to vote against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban).
- Cattle farmer and gas company owner Bill Coleman (R-Mountainburg) announced he will seek Senate district 5. “With a lifetime of running a business, I understand how critical the health of our economy is today. Small businesses are the job creators for our economy. We must have a government that encourages the development and growth of small businesses and therefore job creation, not a government that strangles our businesses and stifles job growth with unnecessary regulations and over taxation," said Coleman in his announcement. Incumbent Sen. Ruth Whitaker (R-Cedarville) is term-limited so this seat is open. Term-limited Rep. Bryan King (R-Green Forest) has also announced he will run. It appears former Rep. Beverly Pyle will not.
- Rumors abound in State Senate district 13 currently held by Sen. Mike Fletcher (D-Hot Springs). The shape of this district has changed quite a bit and now includes a portion south of Benton in Saline County. Rep. Kim Hammer (R-Benton) considered the race, but he tells me that he has decided to run for re-election to House district 28 instead. Some have speculated that term-limited Rep. Johnnie Roebuck (D-Arkadelphia), who owns property in the district, may challenge Fletcher in a primary. But perhaps the most interesting rumor is that former Rep. Mike Creekmore might switch parties (back to Republican) and run in this district, which now includes his home in Bauxite. Garland County Republican chairman Alan Clark is also looking at running.
- Rep. Gary Deffenbaugh (R-Van Buren) confirmed with me on Thursday evening that he will not run for State Senate district 9 but instead will run for re-election to House district 79. Deffenbaugh was believed by many to be conservative Republicans best chance to beat moderate Republican former Rep. Rick Green (RINO-Van Buren.) The incumbent in this district is Sen. Bruce "Fireball" Holland (R-Greenwood), who has been a consistent conservative vote in the senate but a lead foot behind the wheel making him vulnerable to losing to Green. Term-limited Rep. Tracy Pennartz (D-Fort Smith) also has announced she will seek this seat.
- Rep. Jon Eubanks (R-Paris) announced he is running for re-election to house district 74 meaning he will not run for senate district 6 as once rumored. This likely means Rep. Gary Stubblefield (R-Branch) will strongly consider running for district 6. Former Rep. John Paul Wells (D-Paris) – who lost to Sen. Bruce Holland in 2010 when the district was quite different – is seeking this seat as well.