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Brace yourself Mountain Home residents, the fourth and final round of voting for the 2022 midterms is right around the corner.
This year’s election cycle has been marked with several scandals rocking Baxter County’s small community in Northern Arkansas.
During the county’s primary elections in May, the Baxter County Election Commission made a series of mishaps including a lost thumb drive containing a count of the votes from Midway’s polling location, chain of custody issues, misplaced summary tapes, and two unsealed tabulation machines.
Those mishaps were then followed up by another scandal a few short days later, wherein the two Republican members of the election commission were caught looking at ballots in secret alongside the chairman of the Baxter County Republican Committee.
To make this year’s election cycle worse, the Mountain Home School District’s special election over a millage increase to fund a rebuild of its ailing high school campus was held during a contentious time in the United States, as high gas prices and inflation plagued voters.
That special election took a nasty turn as a split community took to fighting on social media over the district’s plans to spend $47 million, two phase construction plan. The millage increase was ultimately defeated by a narrow margin.
Today, Mountain Home residents will find themselves heading to the polls one last time in November to wrap up several local elections alongside the more heated national and state level elections.
Altogether, 48 candidates are seeking to fill the midterms remaining 25 seats.
While Republicans looked strong in the lead up to November’s midterms, things have taken a turn for the worse for the political party.
With the FBI’s raid on former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate, the national spotlight has shifted from President Joe Biden’s failings to contain inflation and illegal immigration back to his 2020 opponent.
The FBI raid, coupled with the Supreme Courts reversal of Roe V. Wade and falling gas prices, has shifted momentum back towards Democrats, who are now expected to hold the Senate this year following Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s admission that Republicans were likely to lose because of “candidate quality.”
Republicans are expected to win the House, but their margin for victory is narrowing. Election betting odds are currently showing that Republicans only have a 28% chance to take the Senate.
Democrats could still easily lose this election season by overplaying their hand, as concerns of government weaponization against Republicans and a rogue FBI continue to rise alongside struggling families’ food bills. It is also unclear if Biden’s recent categorization of Republicans as “fascists” will sway the election towards Republicans in a manner similar to Hillary Clinton’s “deplorable” comments during the 2016 election cycle.
While momentum may have shifted back to Democrats at a national level, Arkansas Republicans are still expected to win in their respective races.
U.S. Senator John Boozman is still leading the pack in his race against Natalie Jame (D) and Kenneth Cates (L) in U.S. District 3.
In Arkansas’s U.S. Congress District 1 race, Rick Crawford (R) is still expected to win against Monte Hodges (D).
This year’s gubernatorial race will be the highlight of Arkansas’s elections as Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) seeks to obtain the highest office in the state against Chris Jones (D) and Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. (L).
For the position of Lt. Governor, Leslie Rutledge (R) will have to stave off both Kelly Krout (D) and Frank Gilbert (L) to earn her spot in higher office.
Other races include John Thurston (R) and Anna Beth Gorman’s (D) race for Secretary of State. Mark Lowery (R) and Pam Whitaker (D) are facing off to be State Treasurer.
For State Senate seats, Mountain Home natives Scott Flippo (R) and Derek Huber (D) have taken up a race against each other in District 23 with Huber seeking to unseat Flippo from his current position.
Huber has begun to make a name for himself by breaking away from some current Democrat positions in favor of more moderate or independent ones, as well as his unique way of campaigning via his podcast and bike tours.
While District 23 has a Senate race on its hands, District 3 will see Stetson Painter (R) and Steven Gene Parsons (L) run against each other for a coveted House of Representatives seat.
Several of Baxter County’s positions remain unfilled despite the Republican’s party sweep a few months ago.
In District 2, both Angela Degroote (R) and Johnny Rickman (D) are squaring off for one of the county’s two remaining Justice of the Peace positions. They are joined in their quest for a position on the county’s Quorum Court by Donnie Huffine (D) and Rick Steiner (R), who are both running for District 3’s seat.
Mountain Home could also be seeing a shake up as Baxter Bulletin Reporter Scott Liles and Billy Austin face off to replace Brian Plumlee as City Clerk.
City Council could also be seeing some new faces as incumbent Paige Dillard Evans and her opponent, Marshella Norell, compete for the council’s Ward 3, Position 1 seat.
Long time City Councilwoman Jennifer Baker will also be running again for her seat on city council. She will face Jay Volkman for her Ward 2, Position 1 seat in November.
National and Arkansas State level candidate list
U.S. Senate Dist. 3
John Boozman* (R)
Natalie James (D)
Kenneth Cates (L)
U.S. Congress Dist. 1
Rick Crawford (R)
Monte Hodges (D)
Tim Griffin (R)
Jesse Gibson (D)
Simeon Snow (L)
Diamond Arnold-Johnson (D)
Dennis Milligan (R)
Public Lands Commissioner
Tommy Land* (R)
Darlene Goldi Gaines (D)
Chris Jones (D)
Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R)
Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. (L)
Kelly Krout (D)
Frank Gilbert (L)
Leslie Rutledge (R)
Secretary of State
John Thurston* (R)
Anna Beth Gorman (D)
Pam Whitaker (D)
Mark Lowery (R)
State Senate Dist. 23
Derek Huber (D)
Scott Flippo (R)
Arkansas House of Representatives District 3
Stetson Painter (R)
Steven Gene Parsons (L)
Arkansas Supreme Court
Local Baxter County level candidate list
Baxter County Justice of the Peace District 2
Angela Degroote (R)
Johnny Rickman (D)
Baxter County Justice of the Peace District 3
Donnie Huffine (D)
Rick Steiner (R)
Baxter County Constable District 3
Kaleb Johnson (R)
Dale Jones (I)
Big Flat Mayor
Mountain Home City Clerk
City Council Ward 3, Pos. 1
Paige Dillard Evans*
City Council Ward 2, Pos. 1
Norfork City Council Ward 1, Pos. 1
Qicha Van Landingham