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Primary runoff unseats House member Marsh Davis

Richmond fends off GOP challenger in District 52 by Stephen Simpson | June 22, 2022 at 6:57 a.m.
"I Voted" stickers sit on a table, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, at the Cambridge City Hall annex, on the first morning of early voting in Massachusetts. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

A Republican incumbent lost his seat in the Arkansas House of Representatives on Tuesday night in the primary runoff election, while another staved off his challenger.

State Rep. Marsh Davis, R-Cherokee Village, lost his House District 2 seat to primary challenger Trey Steimel, an insurance agent from Pocahontas.

Meanwhile, House Republican leader Marcus Richmond of Gravelly fended off challenger Mike Jones in the House District 52 GOP primary.

After Tuesday's runoffs, four incumbents have been ousted so far.

There were Republican primary runoffs for seven state House seats Tuesday to determine the party's nominees.

Runoff elections were held for the top two vote-getters in primary races in which no candidate received a majority of the vote in the May 24 primary.

HOUSE DISTRICT 2

Steimel, in the District 2 Republican primary, attacked Davis for being absent in the Northeast Arkansas district, saying recently he would bring back local representation and accessibility to the House seat.

"[Davis] is not engaged in our local communities when he is not in office in Little Rock," he said. "When you aren't in Little Rock for sessions and committee meetings then you need to be at quorum courts and city council meetings to find out what the folks need from you and that is not what is happening right now."

Steimel will face Libertarian Teresa Norman in the general election for House District 2. He couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday night.

With an estimated 99% of votes counted, unofficial returns were:

Steimel 1,064

Davis 749

Davis, whose first term in the House was in 2019, previously said he wasn't surprised that his race went into a runoff.

"Anytime there are three or more candidates in a race, there is always an above-average chance it's going to a runoff," he said.

Davis received an endorsement last week from his previous opponent, Hazell Marie Whited.

HOUSE DISTRICT 52

Richmond, whose first term in the House began in 2015, said he received an endorsement from Republican gubernatorial nominee Sarah Huckabee Sanders of Little Rock a few weeks ago.

"We put it out there and kind of let other people make a big deal about it," he said. "I try not to overplay anything that we got going on. ... I really do appreciate her stepping up and doing that for me."

But Jones said he doesn't think Sanders' endorsement of Richmond "has a whole lot of traction."

"We haven't heard that that really hurt us," he said.

Richmond will face independent John Wayne Catlett in November.

Richmond couldn't be reached for comment late Tuesday.

With an estimated 99.9% of votes counted, unofficial returns were:

Richmond 1,160

Jones 673

Richmond said during the runoff he was making sure he reached out to not only those who voted for him but also those who voted for a third primary candidate, Greg Bland.

"I need to show those who voted for Bland that I am the better choice and again show the people who voted for Jones why they should reconsider that vote," he said.

Jones is a farmer and rancher for 13 Cattle Co. in Pope and Yell counties as well as the president of J & J Farm and Equipment in Dardanelle.

HOUSE DISTRICT 39

In House District 39, Jackson County Quorum Court member Wayne Long defeated Independence County Judge Robert Griffin. Rep. Craig Christiansen, R-Bald Knob, a second-term representative, was ousted in the three-way GOP race during the primary election.

Long will face Libertarian candidate Clayton Hall in November.

With an estimated 87.5% of votes counted, unofficial returns were:

Long 832

Griffin 588

HOUSE DISTRICT 27

Steven Walker defeated Timmy Reid in the GOP primary to succeed state Rep. Keith Slape, R-Compton, in House District 27 on Tuesday.

Slape vacated the seat to run for state Senate.

With an estimated 99% of votes counted, unofficial returns were:

Walker 2,663

Reid 2,339

Walker will be unopposed in November's general election.

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS

In Northwest Arkansas, three Republican primaries were decided by runoffs Tuesday.

Hope Hendren Duke defeated Jay Oliphant in House District 12.

With an estimated 99.9% of votes counted, unofficial returns were:

Duke 1,071

Oliphant 496

Duke will face Libertarian D. Michael Gill in November.

Scott Richardson defeated Denise Bugos in House District 13

With an estimated 58.4% of votes counted, unofficial returns were:

Richardson 485

Bugos 327

Richardson will face Democrat Jen Standerfer in November's general election.

Kendra Moore defeated Jim Wilson in House District 23.

With an estimated 99.9% of votes counted, unofficial returns were:

Moore 931

Wilson 700

Moore faces Libertarian Ryan Hanson in November.


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