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District 56 race recount sought by Republican; Trent Minner down 10 votes in tally

by Neal Earley | November 18, 2022 at 8:51 a.m.
State Rep. Steve Magie (left), D-Conway, and Republican Trent Minner (right) are both vying to represent Arkansas' House District 56. (Left, courtesy photo; right, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Cary Jenkins)

Republican Trent Minner said he's is asking for a recount in the state House District 56 race in Conway after the results from the initial count showed him losing by 10 votes to the Democratic incumbent.

Minner and Libertarian candidate Howard Heffington challenged Steve Magie for the seat.

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

Magie 4,051

Minner 4,041

Heffington 273

Today, Faulkner County Election officials are set to certify the results. Candidates have two days after certification to request a recount.

"I have faith in the integrity of our elections and in those who worked so hard to oversee and facilitate this election, but with such narrow margins, a hand recount in this situation is an appropriate step we intend to take," Minner said in a statement.

Without a recount, Magie's lead won't significantly change with only two outstanding votes – overseas military ballots – left uncounted, according to Faulkner County Clerk Margaret Darter. Earlier this week, Faulkner County election officials counted provisional ballots, increasing Magie's election night lead over Minner from four votes to 10.

Unlike primaries, general elections for state legislative races do not require a runoff if a candidate does not get more than 50% of the votes.

In interviews with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, both Magie and Minner praised Faulkner County election officials for transparency during the vote tabulation.

Given the closeness of the race and expected recount, House Speaker Matthew Shepherd postponed a meeting that had been scheduled for Thursday of this week to determine committee assignments for members.

Magie, 69 is a five-term incumbent and retina surgeon from Conway. The district includes most of downtown Conway, stretching from Rooster Road in the east to Cadron Creek in the west. It encompasses Hendrix College, Conway High School and Lake Beaverfork.

Minner is a 30-year-old lawyer from Conway who served as an assistant Arkansas attorney general focusing on consumer protection issues. He also ran Republican Congressman French Hill's reelection campaign in 2020 and worked for Gov. Asa Hutchinson, advising on policy issues. Heffington, a Libertarian, is a 33-year-old chemical engineer who served in U.S. Navy as a nuclear engineering officer.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly described Howard Heffington's profession. 

Print Headline: District 56 race recount sought by Republican

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