The Latest: Arkansas voters legalize casinos in 4 counties

November 7, 2018 GMT
1 of 7
Gov. Asa Hutchinson talks to supporters Susanna Watt, left, and Kristi McKinnon, right, at his election night rally Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Little Rock, Ark. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)
1 of 7
Gov. Asa Hutchinson talks to supporters Susanna Watt, left, and Kristi McKinnon, right, at his election night rally Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Little Rock, Ark. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Latest on the 2018 election in Arkansas (all times local):

11:15 p.m.

Arkansas voters have approved a measure legalizing casinos in four counties, including at a horse track and dog track that already offer video poker and other electronic gambling.

Voters on Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment that allows the casinos at the Southland dog track in West Memphis and the Oaklawn horse track in Hot Springs. The measure also legalizes casinos in Pope and Jefferson counties.

The Cherokee and Quapaw tribes in Oklahoma spent more than $4 million combined campaigning for the measure, which supporters have touted as a way to keep gambling revenue in Arkansas. The state Supreme Court last month rejected two lawsuits that tried to get the proposal disqualified from the ballot.


11 p.m.

An Arkansas Supreme Court justice has won re-election after facing a barrage of attack ads and mailers from a Washington-based conservative group.

Justice Courtney Goodson defeated challenger and Department of Human Services Chief Counsel David Sterling in the non-partisan race.

The Republican State Leadership Committee spent $1.2 million on TV ads and mailers in the weeks leading up to the election. Goodson portrayed her re-election bid as a referendum on outside groups’ involvement in judicial races. She had sued to stop the RSLC’s mailers and ads. She lost her bid for chief justice two years ago after facing similar outside attacks.

The group also had run ads promoting Sterling that linked him to President Donald Trump and Gov. Asa Hutchinson.


10:45 p.m.

A Republican congressman has won re-election to his central Arkansas seat after defeating a cancer survivor who railed against the incumbent’s vote to repeal the federal health care law.

U.S. Rep. French Hill won a third term on Tuesday against Democratic challenger Clarke Tucker in the race for the 2nd District seat covering Little Rock and seven central Arkansas counties. Hill was first elected to the seat in 2014.

Tucker and national Democrats had believed they had a chance to flip the Republican-held seat over Hill’s vote against the federal health overhaul. Tucker, a state representative, had run ads recounting his battle against bladder cancer.

Hill had run a series of ads trying to tie Tucker to national Democratic figures like Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi.


10:30 p.m.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has been elected to her second term in office.

Rutledge became Arkansas’ first female attorney general when she was elected in 2014. She won a second term Tuesday night by defeating Democrat Mike Lee and Libertarian Kerry Hicks.

Rutledge is also Arkansas’ first constitutional officer to give birth while in office. Her daughter, Julianna, was born in July.

Rutledge, a Republican, described herself as a “gun carrying, conservative momma” in campaign ads. She currently serves as chairwoman of the Republican Attorneys General Association.


10:20 p.m.

Arkansas voters have approved a plan to gradually raise the state’s minimum wage from $8.50 an hour to $11.

Voters on Tuesday approved the proposed initiated act, which raises the state’s minimum wage to $9.25 an hour on Jan. 1. The law then raises the wage to $10 an hour on Jan. 1, 2020, and $11 an hour on Jan. 1, 2021.

The state Supreme Court last month rejected a lawsuit from business groups who had challenged the signatures submitted in favor of the wage hike measure. The proposal is the second minimum wage hike increase Arkansas voters have approved over the past four years. Voters in 2014 approved a plan to gradually raise the state’s previous minimum wage from $6.25 an hour.


10:18 p.m.

Arkansas voters have added to the state’s constitution a requirement that photo identification be shown in order to cast to a ballot.

The voter ID constitutional amendment was approved in Tuesday’s election. The measure adds showing photo ID to the list of qualifications to vote in the state.

Arkansas already has a voter ID law in effect that was approved by the state’s Republican-led Legislature and governor last year. The state Supreme Court last month upheld the measure and said the Legislature had the power to enact such a restriction.

The state Supreme Court in 2014 struck down a nearly identical version of the voter ID law that’s now in effect.


10 p.m.

Republican congressman Bruce Westerman has been elected to his third term to a U.S. House seat representing southern and western Arkansas.

Westerman is a former state lawmaker from Hot Springs. He defeated Hayden Shamel, who is chairwoman of the Garland County Democratic Party, and Libertarian Tom Canada in Tuesday’s contest.

Shamel, a teacher at Lakeside High School, made education and health care central to her campaign.

Westerman, who was first elected in 2014, has a graduate degree in forestry and serves as chairman of the oversight and investigations subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee.

The seat representing the sprawling 4th Congressional District had long been a Democratic stronghold but has been in Republican hands since 2012, when Tom Cotton was elected to Congress.


9:25 p.m.

An Arkansas Republican congressman has been re-elected to his fifth term representing the state’s 1st District, defeating a long-shot Democratic challenger.

Rep. Rick Crawford beat Democrat Chintan Desai in the northeastern district that includes Jonesboro and West Memphis.

After graduating high school, Crawford served four years in the army defusing explosive devices. He then enrolled at Arkansas State University, where he graduated in 1996.

In 2010, Crawford ran for the House seat vacated by former Rep. Marion Berry.

Crawford serves on the House Agriculture and Transportation and Infrastructure committees as well as the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He also co-founded two agricultural caucuses: the Congressional Rice Caucus and the Congressional Chicken Caucus.


9:05 p.m.

A Republican legislator who co-sponsored a law expanding where concealed handguns are allowed in Arkansas has lost re-election.

Democrat Denise Garner defeated Republican Rep. Charlie Collins’ bid for re-election to House District 84 in northwest Arkansas. Collins was first elected to the seat in 2010.

Collins last year sponsored legislation that the state’s Republican governor signed into law allowing someone with a concealed handgun license to carry at state colleges, some bars and government buildings if they undergo up to eight hours of active-shooter training. A follow-up measure signed into law exempted college sporting facilities from the concealed carry expansion.


8:50 p.m.

An incumbent Republican congressman has defeated a long-shot Democratic challenger to win re-election to his northwest Arkansas seat.

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack won a fifth term Tuesday in Arkansas’s 3rd Congressional District against Democrat Joshua Mahony. Womack was first elected to the district that includes Fayetteville and Fort Smith in 2010.

Womack has chaired the House Budget Committee since the beginning of the year.

After enlisting in the Arkansas Army National Guard, Womack and his father started a radio station. Womack also worked as a financial consultant for Merrill Lynch before being elected mayor of Rogers, Arkansas, where he served for 12 years.

In 2010, Womack easily won election to the House seat when John Boozman, who had held the seat, was elected to the U.S. Senate.


8:05 p.m.

Re-elected Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said that his win Tuesday night shows that Arkansas is headed in the right direction.

Hutchinson told The Associated Press that voters demonstrated they agree with his plan for the future of the state, which includes a new highway plan, lowered taxes and a streamlined state government.

Hutchinson won a second term against Democratic nominee Jared Henderson, a former Teach for America executive who had criticized Hutchinson on the state’s Medicaid work requirement.

Henderson told The Associated Press that while he was disappointed in his loss, he remains optimistic about the Democratic Party in Arkansas. He also said it’s very likely that he will run for office again.


7:31 p.m.

Republican Asa Hutchinson has won re-election as Arkansas governor, defeating a Democratic challenger who had criticized him over the state’s Medicaid work requirement.

Hutchinson won a second term and defeated Democratic nominee Jared Henderson, a former executive with Teach for America. Hutchinson is a former congressman and federal Homeland Security official who was first elected to office in 2014.

Hutchinson had been the favorite in the race and touted more than $150 million in tax cuts he has signed into law since taking office.

Henderson had criticized Hutchinson over the state’s requirement that some on the state’s expanded Medicaid program work or lose their coverage. Nearly 8,500 have been kicked off the program for not meeting the requirement.


7:30 p.m.

Polls are now closed for voting in Arkansas’ general election.

Polling sites were busy throughout much of Arkansas on Tuesday as voters cast ballots. And that’s in addition to the more than 450,000 votes that were cast in early and absentee voting throughout the state.

Arkansas voters are being asked whether to raise the state’s minimum wage, legalize casinos in four counties and enshrine a voter ID requirement in the state constitution. They’re also weighing in on the state’s constitutional offices, and whether to re-elect the state’s four congressmen, who are all Republicans.

Voters in Little Rock are also choosing a new mayor.


6:25 p.m.

Voter turnout was brisk on a sunny Election Day in central Arkansas.

Mother and daughter Kim and Mylisa Angel voted in Bryant after scrambling to get an ID card for Mylisa, who cast a ballot for the first time Tuesday. Both said they talked over the issues before the election and said they voted similarly in most races, except where they disagreed on the minimum wage ballot measure, with Mylisa supporting it and Kim opposing it.

In Little Rock, medical biller Sabrina Raveendran said she voted a straight Democratic ticket to send a message of change. Raveendran’s father is Sri Lankan and her mother is Trinidadian, and she said was motivated to vote after President Donald Trump said he wanted to eliminate citizenship for the children of immigrants.

Polls will close at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.


10:35 a.m.

Arkansas voters are going to the polls to cast their ballots for the midterm election.

On Tuesday’s ballot is a race for governor between incumbent Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Democrat Jared Henderson, a proposal to raise the state’s minimum wage and ballot measures to legalize casinos in four counties.

Voter Angela Bledsoe said she voted for the casino measure because she believes it will generate revenue for the state.

Voters are also considering a proposal to enshrine a voter ID requirement in the state constitution.

In central Arkansas, Democrat Clarke Tucker is trying to unseat incumbent U.S. Rep. French Hill for the 2nd Congressional District seat.


7:30 a.m.

Polls are now open for Arkansas voters casting ballots in Tuesday’s general election.

Leading the ballot is the race for Arkansas governor, as well as ballot measures that would increase the minimum wage, legalize casinos in four counties and enshrine a voter ID requirement in the state constitution.

In central Arkansas, Democrat Clarke Tucker is trying to unseat incumbent U.S. Rep. French Hill for the 2nd Congressional District seat.

State officials have reported brisk turnout in early and absentee votes, with more than 412,000 ballots already cast as of Monday.

Polls are open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.


8:15 p.m.

An Arkansas Supreme Court justice is fighting for her political career in a re-election bid that’s been marked by heavy spending by outside groups blanketing airwaves with attack ads, while voters are being asked to raise the state’s minimum wage.

The Arkansas secretary of state’s office hasn’t predicted how many of the state’s nearly 1.8 million registered voters will cast a ballot in Tuesday’s general election.

Justice Courtney Goodson has faced a new barrage of attack ads and mailers in her re-election fight against David Sterling.

The Republican State Leadership Committee’s Judicial Fairness Initiative has spent more than $1.2 million this fall on mailers and TV ads in the race. Similar outside spending sank Goodson’s bid to become the court’s chief justice two years ago.