Two conservatives in the state Senate who opposed Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Medicaid expansion and other issues were defeated by primary challengers Tuesday.
State Sen. Linda Collins-Smith, R-Pocahontas, was unable to fend off a primary challenge from Rep. James Sturch, a GOP state representative from Batesville, in a bid to retain the Senate District 19 seat that she has held since 2015.
In Senate District 5, Sen. Bryan King was defeated by Republican Rep. Bob Ballinger late Tuesday.
With 141 precincts reporting in District 19, unofficial returns were:
Sturch, 27, who is an office manager and former teacher who cast himself as a Hutchinson ally, is serving his first term in the House.
Collins-Smith, 56, was first elected to the state House as a Democrat in 2010, but she switched parties the next year. She was elected to the state Senate in 2014 and serves as vice chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Susi Epperson in the Nov. 6 general election.
Senate District 19 includes all or part of five counties -- Fulton, Randolph, Sharp, Izard and Independence -- in north-central Arkansas.
King, 49, a cattle and poultry farmer from Green Forest who originally didn't want to run for the Senate District 5 seat, was trailing Ballinger of Berryville, 44, a lawyer with the Story Law Firm in Fayetteville.
In District 5, with all 85 precincts reporting, unofficial returns were:
Senate District 5 includes Madison County, most of Carroll and Crawford counties and parts of Franklin, Johnson and Washington counties.
The winner faces Democrat Jim Wallace and Libertarian Lee Evans in the fall.
Meanwhile, Republicans Ricky Hill of Cabot and Breanna Davis of Russellville appeared headed to victories over their Democratic opponents in special elections for two vacant state Senate seats.
Hill, 50, an executive vice president at Bank of the Ozarks, was leading Steven McNeely, 53, a workers' compensation attorney from Jacksonville to fill the unexpired term of former Sen. Eddie Joe Williams, R-Cabot.
Williams resigned from his Senate District 29 seat to accept an appointment as President Donald Trump's representative to the Southern States Energy Board.
Hill, who defeated Cabot Republican Jim Coy in a Feb. 13 special primary election, will serve until January 2021 if his lead stands up. Senate District 29 includes parts of Faulkner, Lonoke, Pulaski and White counties.
Davis, 35, a senior account executive with SAS Institute, a global analytics firm based in North Carolina, was ahead of Teresa Gallegos, 29, a project manager for Denali Water Solutions and also from Russellville.
Both are seeking to fill the vacancy in the Senate District 16 seat created by the Nov. 16 death of Sen. Greg Standridge, R-Russellville. The Senate district covers all of Newton and Pope counties and parts of Boone, Carroll and Van Buren counties.
Frank Glidewell, a former state representative from Fort Smith, was leading two ballots involving the 8th Senate District, which includes part of Sebastian County.
The seat has been vacant for more than three months after the resignation of Sen. Jake Files, R-Fort Smith, who pleaded guilty in federal court in late January to felony wire fraud, money laundering and bank fraud.
Glidewell was leading Denny Altes, also a former state representative, in a special primary election to fill out the remainder of Files' term, which ends in January.
He also led Altes and state Rep. Mathew Pitsch, also R-Fort Smith, in the primary election for a full four-year term beginning in January.
But that race likely is headed to a runoff between Glidewell and Pitsch, who is barred by the state constitution from running in the special primary election.
The winner of the regular primary election will face Libertarian candidate William Hyman of Fort Smith, who also will face the winner of the special primary election in an Aug. 14 special general election.
Also Tuesday, Mark D. Johnson of Ferndale was ahead in a battle to replace Sen. David Sanders, R-Little Rock, who decided not to stand for re-election in Senate District 15, which includes all of Conway County and parts of Faulkner, Perry, Pulaski and Van Buren counties.
Johnson was leading former state Rep. Dean Elliott of Maumelle in the GOP primary contest.
Johnson, 64, is a fundraising consultant to nonprofit groups and the son of the late state Supreme Court Justice Jim Johnson. Elliott, 50, is government affairs director for Dillard's Inc.
The winner has no opponent on the November general election ballot.
Two Democratic state senators who faced primary challenges were leading Tuesday.
Sen. Keith Ingram of West Memphis was fending off Mayor Dorothy Cooper of Turrell and Sen. Linda Pondexter Chesterfield of Little Rock was ahead of James Andre Pendleton, also of Little Rock.
State senators draw an annual salary of $40,188.
Metro on 05/23/2018
Print Headline: 2 Medicaid-expansion opponents lose Senate seats