State Rep. Jim Dotson defeats Gan Nunnally in District 93 GOP primary; Della Rosa, Douglas headed for recounts

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 1,037 views 

State Rep. Jim Dotson beat back a challenge from a political newcomer Tuesday (May 22), hoping to ultimately win a fourth term representing District 93 the Arkansas House of Representatives.

With all precincts reporting, the three-term incumbent Republican from Bentonville defeated primary challenger Gan Nunnally 1,112-936 (54%-46%) on Tuesday, according to unofficial election results. District 93 represents a portion of Benton County, primarily in Bentonville.

“It has been a long couple of months, a long couple of weeks and a long day,” Dotson said Tuesday night. “But all for the good. I’m glad, of course, about the outcome and appreciate the voters of District 93 for endorsing me. Now we have to pick up and go back to work again. The work is not over. Nov. 6 is on the horizon.”

Dotson was referring to the general election this fall, where he will face Gayatra Agnew, a Democrat. Agnew, who is also competing in her first political campaign, is a senior director for Walmart Inc., leading strategy and grantmaking for the Walmart Foundation.

Nunnally, general manager of the Nunnally Chevrolet auto dealership in Bentonville, lamented the low voter turnout in Tuesday’s primary. His campaign also offered the following statement.

“Gan has enjoyed this process. It’s been eye-opening. He is still in the position of seeking business solutions that are needed for a business-oriented area. He will be making a decision with his family soon on how to continue to make an impact in the community moving forward.”

Also in Benton County, Republican incumbents Jana Della Rosa of Rogers (District 90) and Dan Douglas of Bentonville (District 91) each won primary challenges in their respective House primary races, but by incredibly slim margins — and the results could ultimately change.

By a scant three votes (1,068-1,065), Della Rosa, who is seeking a third term, defeated challenger Kendon Underwood of Bentonville. Douglas, who is seeking a fourth term, edged opponent Scott Richardson of Bentonville (946-934).

Both of those final tallies will change — and could possibly reverse the winner — because of overseas ballots that have yet to be counted. That’s expected to take place Friday. There are more than a dozen overseas ballots outstanding in both races. Douglas said he was told there were 15 ballots left to count in his race.

“I would have liked to spread it out a little wider than 12 votes,” Douglas joked about Tuesday night’s unofficial outcome. “But right now, a win is a win. It has been a great honor serving the people of my district and it’s an even greater honor to be re-elected.”

Douglas, who will not face a Democratic challenger in November, also lamented the low voter turnout in Tuesday’s primary. Just 18,516 ballots were cast among Benton County’s 152,826 registered voters, about 12%

“We would always like to see higher turnout because it’s such a privilege to vote, and we take it for granted in this country,” he said.

Della Rosa did not return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday. If she can officially turn back Underwood’s challenge, she would face Democrat Kati McFarland in November.

In Fayetteville, University of Arkansas professor Nicole Clowney’s first election campaign will be one she won’t soon forget.

Clowney, a political newcomer who teaches classical studies at the UA, won the Democratic primary to represent District 86 in the Arkansas House of Representatives. Clowney defeated Fayetteville city alderman Mark Kinion by a vote total of 1,223 to 700.

Because there is no Republican opponent in the November general election, Clowney’s victory decided the seat for the next two years, beginning in January 2019. Clowney and Kinion were vying to replace State Rep. Greg Leding, a Democrat who is seeking an open Senate seat in District 4 currently held by Uvalde Lindsey, who is retiring.

Clowney did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Following are unofficial primary election results from other Northwest Arkansas legislative races with 100% of precincts reporting (according to the Secretary of State).

District 86
Mark Kinion (D): 700 (36.4)
Nicole Clowney (D): 1,223 (63.6%)

District 90
State Rep. Jana Della Rosa (R): 1,068 (50.07%)
Kendon Underwood (R): 1,065 (49.93%)

District 91
State Rep. Dan Douglas (R): 946 (50.32%)
Scott Richardson (R): 934 (49.68%)

District 93
State Rep. Jim Dotson (R): 986 (54.3%)
Gan Nunnally (R): 1,112 (45.7%)

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