By Cruz Santibanez

In 2000 and 2004, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush won Arkansas, and in 2008 Republican John McCain carried the state. And this year, Arkansas is expected to give its electoral votes to Republican Mitt Romney.

And yet, despite its Republican presidential trend, Arkansas remains one of the two Southern states still to have Democratic majorities in its state Senate and House. However, political scientist Jay Barth says that Republicans now want overall control of the state legislature. And he says that the presidential vote may help Republicans reach their goal of controlling the legislature.

The Arkansas Congressional representation has had a Democratic tilt. Since 1979, its U.S. Senators have been Democrats except for Republican Tim Hutchinson’s 1997-2003 term and incumbent U. S. Sen. John Boozman, elected in 2010. There are no Senate races in Arkansas this year.

Three of the four congressional districts have contests.  In the first district, Republican Rep. Rick Crawford is challenged by Democrat Scott Ellington.  The second district race features incumbent Republican Tim Griffin versus Democrat Herb Rule. Third District Republican Rep. e Steve Womack does not have an opponent. In the fourth district, where incumbent Democrat Mike Ross decided to retire, a competitive race has developed  between Democrat Gene Geffress  and Republican Tom Cotton.

In the Arkansas legislature, Democrats hold 20 of the 35 seats in the Senate and 54 of the 100 seats in the House. As a result, both parties are fighting to win dominance in the legislature. The Arkansas Times  reported that Governor Mike Beebe, a Democrat, has tried to  forge a unified legislature.  “Even though there are some Republicans he gets along with and some that he does not, he hopes voters will understand that politics can be bruising, but that they also want elected officials to work together after the election,” the Arkansas Times said.

On November 6 Arkansas voters will decide on ballot measures that would raise the sales tax a half-cent to generate $1.8 billion for the construction of four-lane highways, authorizing cities and counties to issue bonds for improvements in undeveloped areas, and legalize the growing and distribution or marijuana for medical purposes. An amendment to permit casinos was disqualified by the state Supreme Court.

Governor Beebe, noting that a high proportion of the state’s people are uninsured, intends to focus on implementing the Affordable Care Act. The Arkansas Times reports that he would move both to set up a health insurance exchange and to manage the expansion of Medicaid as provided by the federal law, known as Obamacare.



Mike Beebe, Democratic, January 2007 – Present

Lieutenant Governor
Mark A. Darr, Republican, January 2011 – Present

John Boozman, Republican, 2011 – Present
Mark Pryor, Democratic, 2003-2014

1st District: Representative Rick Crawford, Republican, November 2010 – Present
2nd District: Representative Tim Griffin, Republican, November 2010 – Present
3rd District: Representative Steve Womach, Republican, November 2010 – Present
4th District: Representative Mike Ross, Democratic, 2000 – Present

Speaker of House
Robert S. Moore, Democratic, 2007 – Present

Mark Martin, Republican, November 2010 – Present

Attorney General
Dustin McDaniel, Democratic, 2007 – Present

State Auditor
Charlie Daniels, Democratic, 2010 – Present

State Treasurer
Martha Shoffner, Democratic, 2006 – Present

State Land Commissioner
John Thurston, Republican, 2010 – Present






Bicameral Legislature