A second round of voting to determine a Democratic nominee in Little Rock's House District 34 ended unofficially in a tie Tuesday.
Joy Springer and Ryan Davis were in the runoff after emerging from a four-candidate special primary last month.
While Springer narrowly led that first round by 61 votes, Davis was able to close the gap after earning more publicity in the final days of the runoff, when he and an incumbent state representative said they were subjected to discrimination and harassment outside a fundraiser for his campaign.
With all 11 precincts reporting the unofficial results were:
Pulaski County Election Commissioner Joshua Price said late Tuesday that there are five outstanding overseas military ballots that the commission has yet to receive in the runoff. Additionally, he said two provisional ballots cast Tuesday could be counted if the voters are able to clarify the issues -- such as not having a photo ID -- that prevented them from casting a regular ballot.
The election commission will meet Thursday, Price said, to determine what to do if the race remains tied after the results are certified.
"There has never been a tie in a runoff before," Price said.
Tuesday's runoff was the second of as many as six potential rounds of voting this year in House District 34 to determine a successor to state Rep. John Walker, D-Little Rock, who died last fall.
Each of the four Democrats who filed for the ongoing special election also filed to run in the regularly scheduled cycle of 2020 elections. So did an independent candidate, Roderick Talley.
That means the winner of the runoff will face Talley in a special general election on March 3, at the same time that they will have to face off against previously eliminated Democrats H. "Otis" Tyler and Lee Miller in a new round of primary voting. If no candidate earns a simple majority in the regular primary, it would trigger another runoff election to determine who faces Talley in the Nov. 3 general election.
The winner of the special election will fill the vacancy until January. The winner of the regular elections will assume office in January for a two-year term.
Responding to the unofficial results, Davis attributed his rise to increased voter-outreach efforts, which he said he would continue until the March 3 primary, which will likely result in a higher turnout.
Springer did not return a request for comment Tuesday after the unofficial results were announced.
While campaigning in the primary, Springer, 63, office manager at Walker's law firm, cast herself as Walker's chosen successor for his House seat.
Davis, 41, a nonprofit director, suggested he would be a fresh voice in the district, which stretches from Central High School to Chenal Valley.
The otherwise quiet race was suddenly made the subject of headlines last week when Davis and state Rep. Vivian Flowers, D-Pine Bluff, said they had been in a dispute with angry neighbors outside a fundraiser held for Davis in Little Rock earlier this month.
Both Davis and Flowers, who are black, said they heard a gunshot after a white neighbor demanded to know what the two politicians were doing in the neighborhood. The neighbor denied firing a gun.
Letters condemning the incident were issued by both the state Democratic Party and the Legislative Black Caucus. Police are investigating the matter.
On Monday, Davis and Flowers held a news conference at which Flowers said the incident and the response of police -- who initially approached the politicians with their guns drawn, before identifying the pair as potential victims of a crime -- had caused her to want to seek new legislation aimed at police policies.
Metro on 02/12/2020
Print Headline: So far, state House runoff for Little Rock-area seat tied