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Newcomer prevails in Senate runoff

Dees tops McKenzie; Duke, Moore win House contests by Doug Thompson NWA DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE | June 22, 2022 at 8:51 a.m.
In this May 21, 2018, photo, a roll of stickers awaiting distribution to early voters sits on a table at the check-in station at the Pulaski County Courthouse Annex in Little Rock, Ark. Voters in four states are casting ballots Tuesday as the 2018 midterm elections take shape. Primaries are set in Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky while voters in Texas settle several primary runoffs from their first round of voting in March. (AP Photo/Kelly P. Kissel)

Political newcomer Tyler Dees of Siloam Springs defeated two-term House member Gayla McKenzie, R-Gravette, in the Republican runoff for the District 35 state Senate nomination, results show.

Final but unofficial vote totals are:

Dees . . . . . . . . . . . 2,942 (63%) McKenzie . . . . . . . 1,714 (37%)

State law requires a runoff if no candidate gains a clear majority — 50% plus one or more — in the primary. The runoff takes place between the two candidates with the most primary votes. This is to ensure no candidate advances to the general election with only a plurality of their party’s vote.

Dees led the May 24 Republican primary for District 35 in western Benton and Washington counties. Dees garnered 46% of the vote to McKenzie’s 3 4% , with the remainder going to Jeff Tennant of Gentry. Tennant endorsed Dees in the runoff.

Dees faces no Democratic opposition in the Nov. 8 general election but will compete with Libertarian candidate Doug Peterson.

If elected, Dees would become the first state senator to come from Siloam Springs since John Brown III was term-limited in 2002. The District 35 seat was left open when Sen. Jim Hendren, I-Sulphur Springs, didn’t seek another term. McKenzie is Hendren’s sister.

District 35 covers most of western Benton and northwestern Washington counties.

The Dees-McKenzie race was the only state Senate runoff in either Benton or Washington counties.

S e n ate District 28 includes all of Madison and Carroll counties, most of Newton and parts of Boone, Franklin and Johnson count i e s . Th e re Sen. Bob Ballinger, R-Ozark, was trailing in his reelection bid and Republican primary rematch against former S e n . B r ya n King of Green Forest.

Incomplete vote totals are:

Ballinger . . . . . . . 3,091 (46%) King . . . . . . . . . . . 3,604 (54%)

Ballinger defeated the then-incumbent King to gain a Senate seat in 2018. The winner will face Jim Wallace of Eureka Springs, a Democrat, in the Nov. 8 general election. Ballinger defeated Wallace in 2018 with almost 68% of the vote.

Two House runoffs in Benton County and one in Washington County also ended Tuesday.

Hope Hendren Duke, who is McKenzie’s sister, won her primary against fellow Gravette School Board member Jay Oliphant. The House District 12 competitors in the Republican primary sought the seat McKenzie left to run for the Senate. Primary candidate Jason Maxwell endorsed Duke.

Final but unofficial vote totals are:

Duke . . . . . . . . . . . 1,070 (68%) Oliphant . . . . . . . . . 496 (32%)

Duke will face Libertarian Party candidate D. Michael Gill in November. No Democrat filed in this district.

District 12 is bounded by the Missouri state line on the north and the Oklahoma state line on the west. The district takes in Decatur and reaches as far south as Floyd Moore Road. The district’s eastern extent reaches parts of Bella Vista.

Scott Richardson of Bentonville won in his third bid for the Republican nomination for state House, running against first-time candidate Denise Bugos of Cave Springs in District 13.

Richardson ran in 2018 and 2020, coming within 12 votes of winning the Republican primary the first time and making the runoff in his second and third attempts. Both of the primary challengers who did not make this year’s runoff endorsed Richardson. Those candidates were attorney Greg Payne of Bentonville and Bentonville City Council member Aubrey Patterson. Richardson will face Democrat Jen Standerfer in November.

Final though unofficial vote totals are:

Bugos . . . . . . . . . . . . 327 (40%) Richardson . . . . . . . 485 (60%)

Richardson is an information systems manager. Bugos worked as a buyer for Walmart Stores Inc. before starting a brokerage firm and then a luxury vacation rental business.

Southeast 14th Street in Bentonville lies along most of District 13’s northern border. The district’s southernmost border touches Rainbow Road, also in Bentonville. The district extends to Southwest Regional Airport Road on the west and North 24th Street in Rogers in the east.

Lincoln School Board member Kendra Moore defeated Washington County Quorum Court member Jim Wilson in the D i s t r i c t 2 3 race for the state House. This is a Republican primary.

Final though unofficial vote totals are:

Moore . . . . . . . . . . . 931 (56%) Wilson . . . . . . . . . . . 700 (44%)

Moore will face Libertarian Ryan Hanson in November.

District 23 extends from the state line with Oklahoma in the west to Greenland, West Fork and beyond in the east. It reaches beyond the Savoy community in the north and includes the Cane Hill and Clyde communities in the south.

The district includes the towns of Lincoln and Prairie Grove.

In other races for the House in the region, Timmy Reid of Marshall was trailing Stephen Walker of Horseshoe Bend for the Republican nomination for House District 27.

Walk r would face no opposition in the fall.

Incomplete vote totals are:

Reid . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,065 (35%) Walker . . . . . . . . . 2,003 (65%)

District 27 includes all of Newton, Searcy and Izard counties plus bits of Baxter and Stone counties.

Rep. Marcus Richmond, R-Harvey, won his bid against Republican primary challenger Mike Jones of Dardanelle in the House District 52 race. Independent candidate John Wayne Catlett will oppose Richmond in the fall.

Final though unofficial vote totals are:

Richmond . . . . . . . 1,127 (63%) Jones . . . . . . . . . . . . . 662 (27%)

District 52 includes all of Scott County, the western portion of Yell County and the southern tip of Sebastian County.

Runoff election races

Following are results for some of the other runoffs in the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s subscriber area.

BENTON

PEA RIDGE SCHOOL BOARD ZONE 1

Adam Yager..................66 (65%) Trenton Talburt ..............36 (35%)

ZONE 3

Eric Rowlee..................26 (46%) Sarah Saragusa...........31 (54%)

SEBASTIAN

TREASURER/COLLECTOR

Lora Rice (R) ..........1,991 (86%) Ken Blevins (R) .........322 (14%)

— NWA Democrat-Gazette


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