Rep. Clark Hall (D-Marvell) made it interesting.
Jonesboro prosecutor Scott Ellington eeked out a run-off victory in the First District Congressional run-off after a late run of lower Delta counties by Hall.
Ellington, who had a comfortable margin most of the night, saw his lead shrink as the final boxes came in. In the end, Ellington beat Hall by less than 300 votes to earn a little over 50% of the vote.
“I welcome all of Clark Hall's supporters. I welcome [Gary] Latanich supporters. I welcome independents. I even welcome the Republicans to join us in this march forward, as we go forward to November,” Ellington told supporters.
Hall conceded the race a little before midnight and pledged to support Ellington in the fall in his bid to unseat first-term incumbent Republican Cong. Rick Crawford.
“Tonight, I congratulated Scott Ellington on his victory and offered him my support in November's election,” Hall said. “This evening's results mark an end to our campaign effort, but not the effort behind the ideas for which we fought.”
Green Party nominee Jacob Holloway will also be on the November ballot in the First District.
In the Fourth Congressional District Democratic run-off, May 22nd frontrunner Sen. Gene Jeffress (D-Louann) cruised to an easy victory with nearly 60% of the vote over Hot Springs attorney Q. Byrum Hurst.
Despite a light turnout district-wide, Jeffress benefited from heavi
er voter turnout in south-central and southeast Arkansas local run-off races. That region of the expansive Fourth District is an area that Jeffress and his brother, Sen. Jimmy Jeffress (D-Crossett), have represented for more than a decade.
Jeffress now faces newcomer Tom Cotton, who impressively won the GOP nomination in May.
Jeffress said he looked forward to the general election challenge and played up his south Arkansas agricultural roots. “This boll weevil is going to eat that Cotton up,” said Jeffress, a University of Arkansas-Monticello graduate. The UAM mascot is the boll weevil, an insect that attacks cotton crops.
Green Party candidate Joshua Drake and Libertarian nominee Bobby Tullis will also vie for the Fourth District seat that has been held by retiring Democratic Cong. Mike Ross for the last 12 years.
Early predictions from political pundits suggest that Cotton is the presumptive favorite in the Fourth owing to a large campaign war chest, Jeffress' unconventional campaign style, and the reconfiguration of the Fourth District from Congressional redistricting.
In the First, which gained Democratic strength with the addition of several southeast Arkansas counties, Ellington could be competitive with Crawford. However, Crawford also has a major fundraising advantage over the Democrat, the benefits of incumbency, and has not cast any high-profile, controversial votes to have riled district voters.