New Senate leader picked, House vote recount set

by The City Wire staff ( 8 views 

The first sign of the political shift in Arkansas was delivered today (Nov. 8) in the Arkansas Senate, with election uncertainty continuing in northeast Arkansas.

With Republican gains in the Arkansas Senate sweeping them into the majority, State Senators replaced their designated President with one of their own.

Sen. Michael Lamoureux, R-Russellville, was chosen Thursday as the Senate President for the 2013 General Assembly months after a Democratic majority chose Sen. Larry Teague, D-Nashville, to lead their chamber.

Democrats held a 20-15 advantage over Republicans in the chamber prior to Tuesday’s elections. But the GOP picked up 6 seats putting them in charge by a 21-14 advantage.
Lamoureux had served as the Minority Leader for Republicans in the State Senate in the last session.

Teague was unopposed for re-election and will continue to serve in the State Senate.

The closely-contested race for House District 52, which could determine control of the Arkansas House, is headed for a recount.

L.J. Bryant, the Democratic nominee who trails by 44 votes behind Republican John Hutchison, tells Talk Business he has sent a letter to all four county election commissions in the district requesting a recount.

“I’m extremely thankful for the support of folks across District 52. This razor-thin election has caused many to want me to request a recount. We may get more votes and win or less votes in said recount. No one distrusts the process; however, when it is this close we wanted to ensure the folks of District 52 and Arkansas that there were no doubts about the outcome,” Bryant said.

The seat is crucial to both political parties.

Republicans have a 50-48 advantage over Democrats in the House after Tuesday’s elections. The House District 52 seat would give them control of the 100-member chamber for the first time since Reconstruction. A Democratic victory would pull Democrats to 49 members and Green Party Rep.-elect Fred Smith is expected to caucus with the Democrats making it a 50-50 tie for control.

Hutchison is the apparent winner at this point, but until the recount occurs and the vote is certified, control of the House remains uncertain.