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story.lead_photo.caption David Burnett - Photo by Arkansas Secretary of State / Lori McElroy

An east Arkansas circuit judge who presided over the high-profile West Memphis murder trials won a state Senate seat Tuesday night, while a former state representative defeated a political scientist in a costly Senate race.

Circuit Court Judge David Burnett defeated Blytheville Mayor Barrett E. Harrison for the seat being vacated by Sen. Steve Bryles. Burnett faces no Republican opponent in November.

In another Senate race, former state Rep. Linda Chesterfield defeated Hendrix College professor Jay Barth, capturing more than 65 percent of the vote, according to incomplete returns. Barth raised more than $200,000 in his campaign for the seat, which includes Little Rock and North Little Rock.

Both the House and Senate should remain heavily Democratic after the fall elections. Twenty seats on the House side will be decided in November, along with seven Senate seats.

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  • sheemster
    November 25, 2011 at 2:48 p.m.

    This man needs to be voted out of office. He violated court rules by meeting with the prosecutors in the trial of the WM3 in private without defense present, that is illegal and unethical. He further did not declare a mistrial when jury tampering came to light instigated by the jury foreman. Are you kidding me....this is the type of man you want representing you. There are enough dishonest men in Washington, get this charlatan out of office.