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A Preview of Key Midterm Races

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Arkansas voters will decide on May 24 the primary winners in the gubernatorial and congressional races.

In the open gubernatorial race, Sarah Sanders, a former White House press secretary and daughter of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, will face former talk radio host Doc Washburn in the Republican primary.

Sanders said on the campaign trail that she would protect conservative Arkansas from the radical national agenda pushed by liberal lawmakers in Washington.

She proposes to phase out state income tax to give taxpayers a pay raise amid inflation, support police to enforce the law, and expand public-funded school choice programs.

Sanders had endorsements from former president Donald Trump, former vice president Mike Pence, and incumbent Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Hutchinson cannot seek reelection due to Arkansas’ two-term limit for governors.

Washburn runs as an anti-establishment candidate, saying that Walmart and other big corporations have controlled state politics for too long.

As an outsider, he said he would bring about real conservative changes to the state, including cutting government sizes and banning critical race theory at schools.

According to the May poll conducted by local media Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College among 802 likely Republican primary voters, Sanders got 72.5 percent of the votes, and Doc Washburn got 16.5 percent. The poll is said to have a margin of error of 4.3 percent.

Five candidates are running in the Democratic gubernatorial primary: Chris Jones, Jay Martin, Anthony Bland, James Russell, and Supha Xayprasith-Mays.

U.S. Senator John Boozman (R) faces three challengers in his reelection bid this year, former NFL player and U.S. Army officer Jake Bequette, conservative commentator and gun rights advocate Jan Morgan, and pastor Heath Loftis.

Boozman was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2011. He serves as the ranking member on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee.

He has endorsements from Trump, U.S. Senator of Arkansas Tom Cotton, and Sarah Sanders.

Bequette, a political outsider, got the financial backing of Illinois billionaire Richard Uihlein, who contributed $1 million to the Arkansas Patriots Fund to run TV ads in support of Bequette, according to campaign finance data.

According to the May poll, Boozman got 45 percent of the votes, Bequette got 19 percent, Morgan got 16.5 percent, and Lotfis got 1.5 percent.

Three Democratic candidates, Natalie James, Dan Whitfield, and Jack Foster, are also running for the Senate seat.

Among the four Republican U.S. House Representatives in Arkansas, three face challengers in the primaries.

Rick Crawford will face Jody Shackelford and Brandt Smith, Steve Womack will face Neil Kumar, and French Hill will face Conrad Reynolds.

Reynolds, a retired military intelligence officer, runs against Hill partly because Hill voted to establish a commission to probe the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the Capitol. He has the endorsement of retired U.S. Army Lt-Gen. Michael Flynn.

On May 24, voting begins at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 7:30 p.m. across the state.

A primary winner must secure a majority of the total votes cast. If no candidates meet the threshold, a runoff primary will be held between the top two runners on June 21.

Cara Ding

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Cara is a Chicago-based Epoch Times reporter. She can be reached at [email protected]

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