Six Democratic Senate Primaries Worth Watching

by Michael Cook ([email protected]) 140 views 

Here at Cook’s Outlook we’ve often discussed the fight for the State Senate and which party will control that chamber in 2013.  However, before we focus further on fall elections, let’s not forget there are Democratic Senate primaries still to be decided and the outcome of some those races have an implications for the November elections.

There are six Democratic State Senate primary races on the May 22 ballot and in three of these races there is no Republican candidate, so the primary decides the overall winner.

Here are the Senate races on the May 22 Democratic ballot:

District 11 – Steve Harrelson vs. Larry Cowling
Incumbent Senator Harrelson faces a challenge from State Rep Larry Cowling.  Harrelson had some unfortunate publicity last year because of a fight with his ex-wife’s boyfriend, which is not the type of story one wants when heading into an election year.  However, when an incumbent is up for reelection, the challenger must prove why the incumbent must be fired and, as of yet, Cowling has not made the case of why Harrelson should lose his legislative job.

Harrelson has raised $32,475, but he also loaned his campaigned $50,000. Cowling has raised $4,465 and loaned his campaign $6,660.  The Republican nominee is Jimmy Hickey.

District 24 – Jack Crumbly vs. Keith Ingram
Senator Jack Crumbly faces a stiff challenge from State Representative Keith Ingram.  The newly-drawn Senate district has less African-Americans than before, but it’s still a majority-minority district, which helps Crumbly, but it now includes all of Crittenden County, which is advantegous to Ingram.  Ingram has raised $125,635 and Crumbly has raised $97,813.  There is no Republican candidate in this race.

District 25 — Stephanie Flowers vs Efrem Elliot
Flowers faces a challenge by State Representative Efrem Elliot.  Eliot essentially lost his State Rep seat due to redistricting, so it was either go back home, challenge another State Rep in the primary or go for the Senate.  Flowers has always run strong in her previous races and I expect she’ll win handily in this race as well.  There is no Republican candidate in this race.

District 26 – Eddie Cheatham, Greeg Reep and Johnnie Bolin
This race is a toss-up featuring a current State Rep, Eddie Cheatham, and two former State Reps, Reep and Bolin.  With three candidates this race likely heads into a run-off with Reep and Cheatham as the two candidates most likely to face-off in June.

Reep has raised $49,280, Cheatham brought in $20,189 and loaned his campaign $10,000.  Bolin raised $11,899 and loaned his campaign $5,000.   The Republican nominee is Mike Akin.

District 27 – Garry Smith vs. Bobby Pierce
Both Smith and Pierce are State Reps and it’s hard to call this race since it’s been relatively quiet as far as I can tell.  Neither candidate has raised much money, Smith has raised $21,155, while Pierce has raised $17,391.  The eventual Democratic nominee faces Republican Henry Frisby of Union County.

District 31 – Joyce Elliott vs. Fred Allen
This race has heated up in the past couple of weeks due to a couple of  Arkansas Democrat-Gazette articles that didn’t cast Senator Elliott in the most positive of light.  Frankly, Elliott has had a rough week in the media.

The unknown questions are do voters know or even care about the issues the Democrat-Gazette articles raised?  Moreover, Allen hasn’t provided a compelling reason why Elliott should be defeated, just that he thinks he could do better.

Elliott has brought in $113,331 and Fred Allen has raised $75,128.  There is no Republican candidate in this race.

The primary is less than thirty days away and all of these Democratic candidates are working hard, attempting to persuade voters to support them.  On May 22, we’ll see how all the hard work pays off.