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Conway election won by 10 votes

Incumbent edges out conservative by Neal Earley | November 15, 2022 at 5:03 a.m.
State Rep. Steve Magie, D-Conway, represents Arkansas' House District 56.(courtesy photo)

Conway Democrat Steve Magie is on his way to reelection, increasing his lead after Faulkner County election officials counted provisional ballots Monday.

As of Monday, Magie held a 10-vote lead over Republican candidate Trent Minner in the race for state House District 56 in Conway. Libertarian Candidate Howard Heffington finished in third place.

With an estimated 100% of the vote counted, unofficial returns showed:

Magie 4,051

Minner 4,041

Heffington 273

Magie, a five-term incumbent, held a four-vote lead over his Republican challenger coming into Monday. Faulkner County election officials met Monday to review the uncounted ballots. Overseas military ballots have until Friday to make it to local election officials, however, Magie's lead exceeds the number of remaining outstanding votes.

With his lead increasing to 10 votes with only two potential uncounted ballots remaining, Magie declared victory.

"I like any win but I sure would have liked to go to bed on election night knowing I had a 700-vote lead," Magie said.

Minner declined to say whether he will seek a recount.

If he does ask for one, the recount process cannot begin until election officials make the results official on Friday. In Arkansas, candidates have two days to ask for a recount after the results from an election are declared official.

In an interview, Minner praised Faulkner County Election officials for their transparency in how they tabulated the results.

"I feel proud of the campaign we ran and I feel lucky just to be able to run," Minner said.

Coming into Monday, there were 26 uncounted ballots still yet to be counted, 22 of those were cured provisional ballots. One was an uncured ballot and three were mail-in ballots from active duty military according to Faulkner County Clerk Margaret Darter.

Magie edged out Minner in early voting 2,934 to 2,852 and in absentee ballots 113 to 74. Minner beat Magie in ballots cast on Election Day 1,115 to 1,004.

House District 56 is one of three that includes parts of Conway. The district's boundaries include most of downtown Conway, stretching from Rooster Road in the east to Cadron Creek in the west. The district includes Hendrix College, Conway High School and Lake Beaverfork.

Magie, a retina surgeon with a practice in Conway, had represented the district for 10 years but was worried he would lose after the boundaries were redrawn to include more Republican voters.

The 69-year-old Magie focused much of his campaign running against school choice, something that would hurt public schools in Conway. Minner, 30, a Conway native who worked for Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge focusing on consumer protection law, tried to unseat the Democrat in an election year many predicted would be friendly to Republicans.

Minner had previously ran Republican Congressman French Hill's reelection campaign in 2020 and worked for Gov. Asa Hutchinson, advising on policy issues. Minner pitched to voters his conservative credentials and that Conway could use a younger voice in the state Legislature.

The race also featured Libertarian candidate Howard Heffington, 33, a chemical engineer from Conway who served in U.S. Navy as a nuclear engineering officer.

The results will have little effect on Republican control of the state House of Representatives with the GOP holding at least 81 of the 100 seats in the chamber. One race, the contest for House District 62 in Southeast Arkansas, is still too close to call.

Print Headline: Conway election won by 10 votes


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