LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas voters made history with their choices Tuesday, electing the first woman to lead the state while reelecting a senator, keeping leadership stable in the capital city and snuffing out a push for recreational marijuana.
CHECK THE LATEST RESULTS
1:30 a.m. – Voters in Arkansas overwhelming went red with their ballots, electing a full Republican slate in statewide office races from the 2022 general election and voting in only GOP candidates to represent the Natural State in Washington, D.C.
Governor-elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders led the charge with a decisive win. Lt. Governor-elect Leslie Rutledge and Attorney General-elect Tim Griffin also cruised to victories.
Sen. John Boozman was one of the earliest victors of the night, eventually topping his nearest opponent by more than 300,000 votes. All four Arkansas GOP representatives in the U.S. House – Rep. Rick Crawford, Rep. French Hill, Rep. Steve Womack and Rep. Bruce Westerman – dominated in the reelection bids.
While voters liked red on Tuesday, they were not fans of green, with a Ballot Issue looking to allow recreational marijuana use in Arkansas failing.
Issue 4, which would have also allowed for the expansion of marijuana dispensaries and growing operations, initially saw wider support, but later polls tended to be more closely aligned to the 56% against and 44% for final vote tally.
11 p.m. – Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. will bring in the new year as mayor after winning the mayoral race.
His top competitor, Steve Landers, conceded in the race Tuesday night. Landers and Scott ran against Greg Henderson and Glen Schwarz.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin will swap seats in office, with the two Republican lawmakers each winning their races to replace the other.
10:30 p.m. – Three hours after the polls closed, votes are in for some Arkansas seats while results are still waiting for others.
As of now, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the governor-elect and incumbents Rep. French Hill and Rep. Steve Womack were re-elected to the U.S. Senate.
Votes in the Little Rock mayoral race are still coming in, with incumbent Mayor Frank Scott Jr. currently in the lead with nearly 50% of voters supporting him.
The fates of the four Arkansas Ballot Issues are still unknown. All of the issues are failing at this time. With 24% of the precincts reporting, nearly 60% of voters are against Issue 4, the recreational marijuana measure, while more than 42% of voters are supporting it.
9:30 p.m. – Votes are still coming in for the Little Rock mayoral race. Currently, incumbent Mayor Frank Scott Jr. is leading against candidate Steve Landers, Greg Henderson and Glen Schwarz.
The Pulaski County Clerk’s Office confirmed Tuesday night that voters are still waiting in line to vote, two hours after the polls closed.
So far, returns show that all the issues on the ballot are failing. With 13% of precincts reporting, Issue 4, the recreational marijuana amendment, is trailing with nearly 60% of voters against the issue and just over 40% supporting it.
7:30 p.m. – The Associated Press has called the Arkansas Governor’s race for Republican candidate Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Republican incumbent Sen. John Boozman also won the race for U.S. Senate.
6 p.m. – Political campaigns for Arkansas governor and Little Rock mayor are getting ready to gather as the polls near closing time. Governor candidates Sarah Huckabee Sanders is holding an event at the Statehouse Convention Center. Opponent Chris Jones is also holding a watch party at the Robinson Center.
Things are coming together at The Hall for Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr.’s campaign where he will speak later Tuesday night. Also running in the mayoral race is Steve Landers. Landers’ campaign will be meeting at Next Level Events for a watch party at 7 p.m.
QUICK DETAILS ON ELECTION DAY IN ARKANSAS
Here are a few quick notes about Election Day processes in the Natural State
- The polls open at 7:30 a.m. across Arkansas. The polls close at 7:30 p.m. If you are in line at this time, you will be allowed to vote.
- The last day to vote early in Arkansas was November 7. According to the Secretary of State’s office, there were 496,489 ballots cast in early voting.
- The Secretary of State’s office has an online search tool to help voters find their polling location.
- Voting in Arkansas requires photo ID. Accepted forms include a driver’s license, photo ID card, a passport, a concealed handgun carry license, and more.
We want to know if you are seeing any voting issues. Share any issues you have casting a ballot with our Working 4 You team here.
Among the most hotly contested races for the November general election are the contests to decide the next governor and mayor in Little Rock, as well as the vote on legalizing adult recreational use of marijuana.
ARKANSAS GOVERNOR RACE
Polls show that the November general election could likely see big wins for Republicans running for state offices, including governor.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, daughter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee and former White House press secretary, has led most polls since the move into the general election race. Democrat Chris Jones has seen steady support hovering around the 40% mark, while Libertarian Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. has struggled to get out of low single-digits in polling.
A win by Huckabee Sanders would maintain GOP control of the governor’s office, with polls indicating that two of the state’s other top executives, Republican Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Republican Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin, will be swapping offices after the election.
Rutledge faces Democrat Kelly Krout and Libertarian Frank Gilbert in the lieutenant governor race, with the AG seeing solid support in early polls. Griffin is going against Democrat Jesse Gibson for the attorney general spot, with Griffin holding a 26% lead in polling from late October.
ARKANSAS RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA USE – ISSUE 4
Arkansans will vote on four statewide ballot measures Tuesday, with the most debated being Issue 4. The proposal would legalize recreational marijuana use in the state and set guidelines for its growing and sale.
While polling in September saw stronger support for the effort, the polling tightened in October before the annual Arkansas Poll’s release late last week showed the ballot issue saw more respondents again than for the ballot issue.
While the other three ballot issues have not had the same attention from the voting public, they could be just as impactful. Issue 1, if passed, would let the Arkansas General Assembly call itself to a special session, a power currently only held by the governor’s office. Issue 2 would push the threshold for passing future ballot measures in the state to 60%, up from the current simple majority. Issue 3 would codify protections for “religious liberties” into the state constitution.
LITTLE ROCK MAYORAL RACE
On a local level, the race to run the capital city has heated up with incumbent Mayor Frank Scott Jr. facing a major challenge from businessman Steve Landers. Greg Henderson and Glen Schwarz are also running in the non-partisan race, though much of the focus has been Scott and Landers.
Scott, first elected in a 2018 runoff, led the city through the COVID-19 pandemic but has also seen record-breaking levels of some violent crime during his tenure. He has also seen challenges in leadership with the Little Rock Police Department and the failure to launch an event this year called LITFest.
Landers, a former auto dealership owner, has pushed safety as a driving point of his campaign. His effort has also seen challenges, though, including reports of Landers leaving a loaded gun in a restaurant bathroom and allegations that a campaign poll worker showed a gun during an argument at an early voting site.
Polls in Arkansas remain open until 7:30 p.m. CST.