Two former Congressmen easily won their party primaries and will face off in November in the race for Arkansas governor.
Republican Asa Hutchinson defeated businessman Curtis Coleman, winning 73 percent of the vote in Tuesday's election. Democrat Mike Ross beat Lynette Bryant with 84 percent of the vote.
At Tuesday night's watch party in Little Rock, Hutchinson said if elected in November, he would expand economic development in Arkansas.
“I believe increasing opportunity for this state in every walk of life is our destiny and is my calling,” Hutchinson said to applause. “I want to be the jobs governor that creates jobs and opportunities.”
Hutchinson served more than four years representing northwest Arkansas in Congress. He was the GOP's gubernatorial nominee in 2006, but lost the general election to Gov. Mike Beebe that fall.
Coleman is the founder of North Little Rock-based Safe Foods Corp. and ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2010.
Democrat Mike Ross said his priority if elected would be education.
“The future of our state depends greatly on education. I understand that and that’s why I want to be the education governor.”
Ross spent 12 year representing southern Arkansas in Congress and was known for not often going along with his party, especially on social issues.
Ross and Hutchinson both have endorsements from the National Rifle Association and top figures in both parties.
The two face libertarian nominee Frank Gilbert and Green Party nominee Joshua Drake in the general election.
Current Governor Mike Beebe is term-limited and can't run for-re-election.