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The votes are in, and it’s a historic day for Arkansas.
Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders has won her election for Governor against Democrat Chris Jones. She is the first woman in Arkansas history to sit in the Governor’s seat.
Sanders’s victory for the night was called almost instantly after polls closed, and at the time of this writing, she currently has a commanding lead of 59.6% with 46% of all votes counted. Jones trails at 38.8% of the vote.
This number will fluctuate throughout the night, but her lead is nearly insurmountable.
Sanders wasn’t the only Republican to come out on top tonight. Senator John Boozman has defeated Natalie James and will continue to represent Arkansas in Washington, DC.
Republican Rick Crawford defeated Democrat Monte Hodges for his U.S. Congress District 1 race.
In Baxter County, Republicans currently hold a solid lead. Voter turnout capped out at 52.07% with 15,774 total ballots cast, according to the final unofficial results report printed by the Baxter County Election Commission at 10:36 p.m. Tuesday night.
In the State Senate District 23 race, Senator Scott Flippo holds a commanding lead over Democrat Derek Huber. Flippo leads 12,031 votes to 3,438 votes.
While there are several other counties that Flippo has to win to hold his District 23 seat, he is expected to win his race.
In Baxter County’s State Representative District 03 race, Stetson Painter holds a lead of 8,482 votes to 1,830 votes against Libertarian Steven Gene Parsons. Painter will win his race if his lead holds in the other surrounding counties.
In State Representative District 4, Republican Jack Fortner has won his race. He was uncontested. The same goes for Steven Walker in District 27.
Canda Reese will keep her position as Baxter County Circuit/County Clerk.
Baxter County’s Quorum Court will remain under Republican control. Angela DeGroote has won her election as Baxter County Justice of the Peace District 2 against Democrat Jonny Rickman by 1,290 votes to 281.
In Baxter County Justice of the Peace District 3, Republican Rick Steiner has defeated Democrat Donnie Huffine by 1,254 votes to 293.
Republicans will also keep control of Baxter County Constable District 3, with Republican Kaleb Johnson beating out Dale Jones, an Independent, by 1,195 to 341.
In Briarcliff, Michael Keith Lewis has won his race for mayor. Phillip Caradine will continue to serve as Mayor of Cotter after winning his re-election. Jeff Braim has won his race for Gassville Mayor. In Lakeview, Dennis Behling wins his mayoral race.
Big Flat’s three-way race for mayor has Glenda Wiseman in the lead ahead of both Charles Schmitt and Casey McClanahan.
Hillrey Adams has also won his re-election for Mayor of Mountain Home. He is joined by Lisa Harrison, who has won her mayoral race in Norfork. In the race for Mayor of Salesville, Tim Mayfield has defeated Qicha VanLandingham.
Mountain Home will be getting a new City Clerk. Baxter Bulletin journalist Scott Liles has defeated Billy D. Austin 2,215 to 1,427 for the position. He will replace Brian Plumlee as City Clerk following Plumlee’s loss in the race for Baxter County Judge.
Jennifer Baker has won her re-election for Mountain Home City Council Ward 2 Position 1 against Jay Volkman 2,196 to 1,496. She is one of the council’s longest-serving members.
Paige Evans also won big tonight in her re-election for Mountain Home City Council Ward 3 Position 1. She defeated Marshella Norell 2,511 to 1,118.
In Norfork, Ian Vickery has defeated Rick Coker 89 to 60 for the Norfork City Council Ward 1 Position 1 seat.
How did Baxter County vote on Ballot Issues?
There were several Constitutional Amendments on the ballot this year in Arkansas. Three of those proposed amendments were created by the Arkansas legislature, with the fourth amendment being proposed by citizens throughout the state via petition.
Amendments ranged from amending the Arkansas Constitution to allowing the Legislature to call its own special sessions to legalize recreational marijuana throughout the state.
Here’s how Baxter County voted on those amendments. It should be noted that these results are only for Baxter County. All amendments could pass or fail regardless of the results in Baxter County.
State-wide, all amendments have currently been rejected at the time of writing.
Under Ballot Issue 1, the Arkansas Legislature is proposing an amendment that would give them the authority to call special meetings of the legislature at any time. Under the current constitution, only the governor can call for special meetings at this time.
Baxter County rejected that amendment by 7,722 votes to 6,953.
Under Ballot Issue 2, Arkansas legislators have proposed to increase the percentage of votes required to pass most statewide ballot issues.
Currently, a simple majority of votes are needed for statewide ballot issues to pass and become law. This percentage is described as “50% plus one vote” or a simple majority.
Issue 2 proposes amending the three sections of the Arkansas Constitution governing ballot issues to require a “super majority” vote for constitutional amendments and initiatives to go into effect.
Baxter County voters voted to approve that measure 7,711 to 7,066.
Issue 3 covered religious freedom in Arkansas. While religious freedom is guaranteed in the Arkansas Constitution, the Legislature proposed an amendment following the COVID-19 pandemic. The Baxter County Quorum Court passed a resolution denouncing the amendment, stating that the court believed that the amendment would allow the state to restrict religious liberties during emergencies.
Despite that resolution, Baxter County voters gave the amendment a thumbs up 8,184 to 6,810.
Finally, Issue 4 proposed legalizing recreational marijuana throughout the state, paving the way for big business to commercialize the popular drug throughout the state. Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery opposed the amendment.
Baxter County voters rejected legalizing recreational marijuana by 8,663 to 6,785.
Fifteen provisional ballots remain to be counted by the Election Commission. The remaining ballots will be processed on Wednesday, November 9 at Election HQ at 1 p.m.