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Polls open across state for primary election

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was published May 20, 2014 at 8:37 a.m.


Voters fill out their ballots Tuesday morning at Fire Station No. 10 in Little Rock's Heights neighborhood.

Polls have opened across Arkansas in Tuesday's primary election with voters casting ballots to pick their party's nominees in a number of contested races.

At Fire Station No. 10 in Little Rock's Heights neighborhood, about a dozen voters were waiting in a line outside when voting began at 7:30 a.m., and a steady stream of voters arrived as the morning progressed.

Among them was Ted Gammill, a 61-year-old bank consultant who voted in the Republican primary. Gammill said he cast ballots for French Hill in the 2nd Congressional District race because Hill "knows business," for Tim Griffin in the lieutenant governor race because of his experience and for Asa Hutchinson in the governor's race.

"He gives us the best chance to win," Gammill said of Hutchinson, who is opposed in the Republican primary by businessman Curtis Coleman. "They just don't have the name recognition. Asa is more of a known quantity."

Wendy Parker, a 40-year-old housewife, said she voted for Coleman because he seems more committed to "standing up against Obama."

"I just like what he had to say," Parker said after casting her ballot. "I want to give him a chance."

Dent Gitchel, 72, voted in the Democratic primary, which had fewer contested races than the Republican side. He said he voted for former U.S. Rep. Mike Ross in the primary for governor over substitute teacher Lynette Bryant.

"There's no question Mike Ross is the more qualified candidate to be governor," he said. "It's not even close."

Gitchel said he expects Ross will ultimately face Hutchinson in what will be a "very close race" in November.

For the Supreme Court, Gitchel voted for Tim Cullen over Robin Wynne. He said he made that choice because Wynne did not speak out against ads purchased by a Virginia group that criticized Cullen for his courtroom defense of a sex offender. Cullen said the ads were misleading.

"That's just unacceptable behavior in a judicial campaign," Gitchel said. "That turned the tables for me."

Geoffrey Yamauchi, 43, voted a nonpartisan ballot, which meant he voted for only judicial candidates. He declined to say how he voted but said he always makes sure visit the polls on an Election Day.

"It's our duty to vote," he said. "You have to vote. This is our only chance to have any power in the decision. That's what I believe. This is our opportunity to make a difference."

Polls across the state will remain open until 7:30 p.m.


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