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August 18, 2022

Thousands of Arkansas residents cast ballots before Tuesday’s primary

Arkansas voters will decide who will represent the Republican Party for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general in the November election on Tuesday. 

Early voting began on May 9. About 167,000 Arkansans cast their ballots before Saturday, and another 15,000 to 20,000 could cast their ballots on Monday, according to Kevin Niehaus, director of government affairs for the Arkansas Secretary of State. The state has 1,750,000 registered voters. 

“We expected a strong early vote turnout since things have been trending that way in recent elections,” Niehaus said in an email to The Center Square. “With election day turnout having diminished slightly in recent elections and with rain in the forecast for tomorrow, it’s really difficult to pinpoint what overall turnout will be.”

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is term-limited and cannot seek another term. Former White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders is facing radio talk show host Doc Washburn on the Republican gubernatorial ticket. 

The Democratic ticket is more crowded. Vying for the state’s top job is Rep. Jay Martin, who served as majority leader in the Arkansas Legislature; nuclear physicist and minister Chris Jones; James “Rus” Russell III, a business owner from Little Rock; Supha Xayprasith-Mays, who previously worked at the corporate headquarters for Walmart in Bentonville; and Anthony Bland, a business teacher with the Little Rock School District. 

The Libertarian candidate is Ricky Dale Harrington, Jr. 

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge dropped out of the race for governor and is running for lieutenant governor. She is challenged by four other Republicans: financial advisor Chris Bequette, Arkansas Surgeon General Gregory Bledsoe, Sen. Jason Rapert, former chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party Doyle Webb and Joseph Wood, a county judge and former deputy secretary of state. 

Democrat Kelly Krout and Libertarian L. Frank Gilbert are on the ballot for their parties.

Current Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin is running for attorney general. He is begin challenged in the Republican primary by former Labor Secretary Leon Jones. Jesse Gibson is the sole candidate for attorney general on the Democratic ballot. 

Incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman has three challengers in the Republican primary. Jake Bequette, Heath Loftis, and Jan Morgan are on Tuesday’s ballot. 

Polls will remain open in Arkansas until 7:30 p.m. If no one candidate wins a majority of the votes, a runoff is scheduled for June 21. 

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