Most regional House and Senate candidates to run unopposed

by The City Wire staff ( 14 views 

The 2014 filing period for state candidates came with a few surprises, both in terms of candidates and unforeseen difficulties for last minute filers making the cold and icy journey to Little Rock on Monday (March 3).

The filing period, which began Feb. 24, lasted for one week, ending at noon Monday.

Among the Northwest Arkansas legislative races, nine of the 15 House districts that represent all or parts of the area will have a primary and/or a general election contest. Of the nine contested races, three – House districts 87, 88 and 90 – will see the winner of the GOP primary be unopposed in the general election.

There are no contested races for the three Senate districts in Northwest Arkansas up for election in 2014. Barring any surprise developments, Sens. Cecile Bledsoe, R-Rogers (District 3); Uvalde Lindsey, D-Fayetteville (District 4); and Bryan King, R-Green Forest (District 5) will run unopposed in the primary and general elections.

In the Fort Smith area, only two of the 10 House districts will be contested. House District 76 will see Bobby Altes and Mat Pitsch face off in the GOP primary. No Democrat filed for the District 76 seat, meaning the winner of the primary will win the seat. Rep. Charlene Fite, R-Van Buren, will face Libertarian candidate Taylor Watkins in the District 80 general election.

Of the three Senate districts in the Fort Smith area up for election in 2014, only District 9 will see a contest. Sen. Bruce Holland, R-Greenwood, is being challenged by Rep. Terry Rice, R-Waldron, in the GOP primary for the seat. No Democrat filed for the District 9 seat. Sens. Gary Stubblefield, R-Branch (District 6) and Jake Files, R-Fort Smith (District 8) will run unopposed in the primary and general elections.

Overall, of the 30 Fort Smith and Northwest Arkansas House and Senate districts up for election in 2014, only 12 are contested.

One of the unexpected primaries is the Democratic primary for governor, which had until Friday (Feb. 28) consisted of only former U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, D-Prescott, after Attorney General Dustin McDaniel dropped out of the race following an admission of an extramarital affair and former Lt. Gov. Bill Halter dropped out following disappointing fundraising figures.

On Friday, Dr. Lynette Bryant came to the state capitol to file her paperwork to challenge Ross, explaining to media at the capitol that she did not expect that she would not have the support of the Democratic Party of Arkansas.

One of the late filers for office on Monday was Mark Robertson, a Democratic candidate for Land Commissioner.

Robertson, a Fellow of American Society of Landscape Architects, said he was bringing nearly 35 years of experience to his race against current Land Commissioner John Thurston, a Republican.

“It’s time for the office of the Commissioner of State Lands to better serve Arkansans by pursuing innovative measures to make the office more open and responsive,” Robertson said in a campaign announcement. “I have extensive experience in land use and running a small business and will be able to offer a wealth of knowledge to the state. I am excited to file my paperwork today and ready to begin my campaign to serve all Arkansans.”

While 412 candidates did file for office this year, the last minute rush normally experienced at the state capitol did not happen this year due to a winter storm that blanketed a large portion of the state, according to Press Secretary Alex Reed of the Arkansas Secretary of State's office.

"We've had about 10 filings so far this morning, including a candidate for Congress and a candidate for attorney general," he said. "The last day of filing is usually a heavy day for filing since the other days are light. But I'm not sure how the weather is going to impact people's travel."

While all non-essential state employees were told to stay at home due to the conditions, Reed said state law dictates candidate filing periods with no flexibility in schedule, meaning he and fellow staffers of the Secretary of State's office had to make it into work. And it's not the first time such an incident has happened, he said.

"I heard of a situation in 2010 where it snowed a couple of days down here and filing remained open, though it was not the last day (of filing)."

Following is the final list of candidates for federal and state races in or including the Fort Smith and Northwest Arkansas areas.

U.S. Senate:
• U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, R
• U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D
• Mark Swaney, Green Party
• Nathan LaFrance, Libertarian

Third Congressional District:
• U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R
• Grant Brand, Libertarian

Fourth Congressional District:
• Rep. Bruce Westerman, R
• Tommy Moll, R
• James Lee Witt, D
• Ken Hamilton, Libertarian

• Curtis Coleman, R
• Former U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson, R
• Former U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, D
• Dr. Lynette Bryant, D
• Josh Drake, Green
• Frank Gilbert, Libertarian

Lieutenant Governor:
• U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, R
• Rep. Andy Mayberry, R
• Rep. Debra Hobbs, R
• John Burkhalter, D
• Chris Olson, Libertarian

Secretary of State:
• Secretary of State Mark Martin, R
• Susan Inman, D
• Jacob Holloway, Libertarian

Attorney General:
• David Sterling, R
• Leslie Rutledge, R
• Patricia Nelson, R
• Rep. Nate Steel, D
• Aaron Cash, Libertarian

Auditor of State:
• Ken Yang, R
• Rep. Andrea Lea, R
• Regina Hampton, D
• Brian Leach

State Treasurer:
• Rep. Duncan Baird, R
• Saline County Circuit Clerk Dennis Milligan, R
• Hot Springs City Director Karen Garcia, D
• Chris Hayes, Libertarian

Land Commissioner:
• John Thurston, R

• Mark Robertson, D
• Elvis Presley, Libertarian

Senate District 3:
• Sen. Cecille Bledsoe, R

Senate District 4:
• Sen. Uvalde Lindsey, D

Senate District 5:
• Sen. Bryan King, R

Senate District 6:
• Sen. Gary Stubblefield, R

Senate District 8:
• Sen. Jake Files, R

Senate District 9:
• Sen. Bruce Holland, R
• Rep. Terry Rice, R

* Senate Districts 1, 2 and 7 are not up for re-election this year.

House District 21:
• Marcus E. Richmond, R

House District 74:
• Rep. Jon Eubanks, R

House District 75:
• Rep. Charlotte Douglas, R

House District 76:
• Matt Pitsch, R
• Bobby Altes, R

House District 77:
• Justin Boyd, R

House District 78:
• Rep. George McGill, D

House District 79:
• Rep. Gary Deffenbaugh, R

House District 80:
• Rep. Charlene Fite, R
• Taylor Watkins, Libertarian

House District 81:
• Rep. Justin Harris, R

House District 82:
• Rep. Bill Gossage, R

House District 84:
• Rep. Charlie Collins, R
• Washington County Justice of the Peace Candy Clark, D

House District 85:
• Rep. David Whitaker, D

House District 86:
• Rep. Greg Leding, D

House District 87:
• Robin Lundstrum, R
• Lucas Roebuck, R

House District 88:
• Rep. Randy Alexander, R
• Former Washington County Justice of the Peace Lance Eads, R

House District 89:
• Rep. Micah Neal, R

House District 90:
• Paul Caldwell, R
• Jana Della Rosa, R
• Mike Whitmore, R

House District 91:
• Rep. Dan Douglas, R

House District 92:
• Kim Hendren, R

House District 93:
• Rep. Jim Dotson, R
• Alderman Bill Burckart, R
• Alderman Leah Williams, D

House District 94:
• Marge Wolf, R
• Rebecca Petty, R
• Grimsley Graham, D

House District 95:
• Rep. Sue Scott, R
• Dane Zimmerman, R
• Eddie Moser, Libertarian

House District 96:
• Grant Hodges, R
• Damon Wallace, R
• Tom McClure, D
• Michael Kalagias, Libertarian

House District 97:
• Rep. Bob Ballinger, R
• Charles "Sonny" Carter, D