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Arkansas elections: 2 Republicans, a Democrat and a Libertarian announce for state House seats

by Rachel Herzog | January 13, 2022 at 3:14 a.m.

Two Republicans, one Democrat and one Libertarian have announced bids this month for state House seats throughout Arkansas.


Ryan Rose, a minister and small-business owner from Van Buren, announced his Republican bid for House District 48 on Jan. 6.

The district covers part of southwestern Crawford County and a small portion of northern Sebastian County.

The incumbent is Gary Deffenbaugh, R-Van Buren, who has been in the House since 2011 and confirmed to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Wednesday that he is not seeking reelection this year, citing his health as well as the district being redrawn to include some of Fort Smith.

Deffenbaugh noted that he has been unopposed in his bids for reelection since taking office.

"I've been blessed," he said. "You know, I'm 73, and I think you know when it's time to get out. And this is it for me."

In the race for his seat, he said, he will be making an endorsement for a candidate who hasn't yet announced, though he said Rose's announcement was "impressive."

In a news release, Rose described himself as a conservative Republican and said he will fight for the lives of the "pre-born," protect Arkansans' Second Amendment rights, improve education and lower taxes.

"I believe we can make Van Buren and the River Valley a better place to live, work and raise a family," he said.


Sevier County jail administrator Chris Wolcott, a self-described conservative Democrat, said in a Facebook post on Jan. 6 that he will run for House District 87.

"I believe your socioeconomic status should never silence your voice. It is your voice that I will carry straight to the steps of the capitol," Wolcott said in his announcement.

That district includes Sevier and Little River counties as well as a small portion of Howard County.

The incumbent is Rep. DeAnn Vaught, R-Horatio, who announced her reelection bid last year. Her first term in the House began in 2015.


Libertarian Donn Baker, who operates a leather shop in Warren with his wife, will run for House District 94.

The district covers parts of Bradley, Drew and Desha counties. The incumbent is Rep. Jeff Wardlaw, R-Hermitage, who has served in the House since 2011.

Baker said in a phone interview Wednesday that he decided to run because he is "tired of the politicians not listening to their constituents."

"They seem to be more in tune with the lobbyists and the special interest groups instead of what their constituents are wanting," he said. "I've heard this from lots of people I talked to."


Wade Andrews, a farmer and small-business owner from Camden, announced Tuesday that he would seek the Republican nomination for House District 98.

The district includes parts of Nevada, Lafayette, Columbia and Ouachita counties. The incumbent is Rep. David Fielding, D-Magnolia, who announced in December that he is seeking reelection.

"In recent years, we have seen a need to real leadership, and that's why I'm running. We have a lot of work to do, but I'm ready to fight for our working families and the next generation of Arkansans," Andrews said in a news release.

Andrews unsuccessfully challenged Fielding in 2018. Fielding has served in the House since 2011.

The filing period for state candidates begins Feb. 22, and the primary election will be held May 24. The general election is Nov. 8.

Print Headline: 4 candidates join House races


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