Arkansas Elections

The group behind a proposal disqualified from the November ballot that would have legalized casinos in three Arkansas counties is asking the state Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling against the measure.

Arkansas Wins in 2016 on Tuesday filed a petition for rehearing over the court's decision to disqualify the proposed constitutional amendment, which would have allowed casinos in Boone, Miller and Washington counties. The high court ruled that the ballot title did not inform Arkansas voters that the measure would violate a federal law prohibiting sports gambling in the state.

An excerpt from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's October 2016 3rd Quarter report for the 2018 election cycle.
Arkansas Secretary of State's Office

How American democracy is faring this presidential election is the subject of many perplexed and disillusioned observers but a few Arkansas candidates already have their eyes on whatever comes next, with campaign contributions trickling in for the 2018 cycle. High dollar contributions from Political Action Committees and individual business owners dominate the filings. A number of lower level contributions from persons employed in governmental affairs also line some reports. As could be expected virtually nothing was allocated to 2018 campaign expenditures.

File photo. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R).
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is launching her re-election bid, joining a growing list of Arkansas statewide elected officials preparing for the 2018 campaign.

Rutledge told The Associated Press last week that she has already begun raising money for her bid and will file her first fundraising report with state election officials on Monday. A spokesman says Rutledge plans to report she's already raised nearly $72,000 for her re-election bid.

Senate John Boozman, Conner Eldridge, Frank Gilbert

The three candidates for U.S. Senate defended their parties’ presidential candidates and attacked the others in their first and only debate this election season.

At a debate at AETN, incumbent Republican Sen. John Boozman said the two candidates are “very flawed” but the “total package” was the reason he is supporting his party’s nominee, Donald Trump. He said Trump had put forth a list of acceptable Supreme Court nominees while Hillary Clinton in the debate listed personal qualifications but didn’t mention the Constitution.

The Arkansas Supreme Court issued decisions Thursday impacting three items that voters were to consider in next month's general election. Justices disqualified proposals to legalize three casinos and place limits on medical liability cases, while saying a medical marijuana proposal can be considered.

2nd district congressional race Democrat Dianne Curry, Libertarian Chris Hayes and Republican incumbent French Hill.

The three candidates for the state’s 2nd District congressional seat faced off in the final AETN debate, discussing banking reform, the national debt and other issues.

The debate featured Republican U.S. Rep French Hill, Democrat Dianne Curry and Libertarian Chris Hayes.

Asked what banking reforms are needed to protect smaller banks from regulations while keeping the country safe from big banks’ unsafe practices, Hill, a former banker, faulted Congress for passing the Dodd-Frank Act, saying it hurt small community banks.

Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families and the Arkansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics released  joint statement Wednesday opposing two statewide ballot measures to legalize medical marijuana.  In a press release, the organizations gave the following reasons for the opposition:

There are currently no published studies on the efficacy of the marijuana plant as a medication in children.

1st district congressional race  Rick Crawford (R) and Mark West (L)

Republican First District Congressman Rick Crawford and his Libertarian opponent, Mark West, criticized their opposing parties’ presidential nominees and disagreed about America’s role overseas during a lively debate sponsored by AETN. The debate airs at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Asked how he would explain Donald Trump’s recent comments about women to his female constituents, Crawford said the comments disturbed him but that Trump is still a better choice than Hillary Clinton, whose policies would be a continuation of President Barack Obama’s.

Candidates for the 4th District seat: Libertarian Kerry Hicks and Republican incumbent Bruce Westerman.

Republican Rep. Bruce Westerman said tax returns should be simple enough to be filed on a postcard, while his Libertarian challenger, Kerry Hicks of Mena, said the country must address its $19 trillion national debt.

The Arkansas Hospital Association and the Arkansas Medical Society have endorsed Issue 4, the proposed constitutional amendment directing the Legislature to set caps of at least $250,000 on non-economic damages in medical lawsuits and limiting attorney contingency fees to one-third of jury awards after expenses.

The two associations announced that their governing boards had formally endorsed the amendment in a joint press release Monday. Voters will decide on the amendment in the November 8 elections if the proposal survives two lawsuits.