Last night was a big night for a lot of Republican candidates across the state. There were plenty of surprises and even some upsets. No doubt there are lots of implications for the Obamacare “private” option moving forward, which we will be analyzing in the days and weeks ahead. But for now, here’s a look at some of the biggest winners around the state.
First, a look at some big legislative wins and impressive performances:
- Rep. Terry Rice soundly defeated incumbent Senator Bruce Holland 56%-44% in Senate District 9.
- In Senate District 17, Scott Flippo made an impressive showing against Rep. John Burris, garnering 42% to Burris’s 43%. This race will be decided in a runoff on June 10th.
- James Sturch, a 23-year old candidate in Batesville, defeated Anne Moore by an impressive margin of 62-38% in House District 63.
- Dwight Tosh defeated incumbent Rep. John Hutchison by 20 points in Craighead County.
- Garland County JP Mickey Gates soundly defeated fellow JP Donald Laymon 59-41% in House District 22.
- Buddy Fisher crushed Trent Eilts 65-35% in Lonoke County (House District 14).
- In a three-way primary in the Russellville area, former independent U.S. Senate candidate Trevor Drown defeated two opponents, garnering 64% of the vote and avoiding a runoff.
- In House District 96, Grant Hodges soundly defeated Damon Wallace, 69-31%.
- In House District 90, Jana Della Rosa defeated two opponents and avoided a runoff by grabbing 52% of the vote.
- On the Democratic side, incumbent Rep. Fred Smith was soundly defeated by challenger Milton Nicks in House District 50.
Tosh, Fisher, and Sturch will face Democratic opponents in the fall. The rest of these winners will proceed through the general election unopposed and will be legislators in 2015.
In the statewide races that had the potential to go to runoffs:
- Rep. Tim Griffin grabbed 64% of the vote in the Lieutenant Governor’s race, defeating two incumbent legislators and avoiding a runoff.
- In the Attorney General race, Leslie Rutledge made an impressive showing and surprised a lot of folks by getting 47% of the vote statewide. David Sterling came in at 39%, with Patricia Nation a distant third at 14%. Rutledge and Sterling will face off in a runoff on June 10th.
Finally, in the only three-way congressional primary in the state:
- Businessman French Hill soundly defeated two challengers, getting 55% of the vote and avoiding a runoff.
You’ll want to stay tuned to The Arkansas Project over the next few weeks. Something tells me we’ll have a lot to say about the runoffs for Senate District 17 and Attorney General.