Arkansas Democratic Chair Gray loses House seat in close race

by George Jared (gjared@talkbusiness.net) 539 views 

Democratic Party of Arkansas Chairman Rep. Michael John Gray, D-Augusta, lost his bid for another term in the Arkansas State House on Tuesday night, despite reports of a possible tabulation error with the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office.

Secretary of State spokesman Chris Powell told Talk Business & Politics that some numbers in a few races had to be modified Wednesday (Nov. 7), but the numbers listed are the ones they have tallied.

Gray was defeated 51% to 49% (3,643 to 3,545 votes cast) by Republican Craig Christiansen in the District 47 contest, according to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office. The vote totals have not been certified, meaning they are still unofficial, Powell added

“According to our figures … Gray did lose that race,” he said.

Repeated attempts by Talk Business & Politics to contact Gray were unsuccesful.

Gray did post the following statement to his Facebook page Wednesday night: “It has truly been an honor. Over the last four years you’ve allowed me to be your voice. I’ve met new friends, I’ve been embraced by communities, and my love for our part of Arkansas has grown even more. We live in a wonderful place filled with wonderful people. Your tenacious spirits, your open hearts, and your beliefs in a future brighter than the past are all why I’m so proud to live amongst you and am humbled by the opportunity you gave me.

“The real loss would have been never getting to do it at all; to not have felt the love and support of an amazing wife and loving family; to have missed the opportunity to get to fight for and alongside all of you.

“We only lose if we settle. We only lose if we accept that this is as good as it gets. We only lose if we don’t get up each day and try to make it better than the day before. I believe in our part of Arkansas and as always, please let me know if I can help.”

Christiansen learned he’d won the race when contacted by a Talk Business & Politics reporter late election night.

“Bless you … It’s been an interesting race,” he said when informed of his victory. “We both fought a good race.”

Christiansen has worked in state government for decades, he said. One thing he plans to do is work for the people of his district no matter their political affiliation, he added.

“I don”t care if they are Republican or Democrat, … I will represent everyone in this district no matter what the party,” he said.

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