Few legislative races in March primaries; matchups many for general election

(File Photo/NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)

Benton County voters will decide two Republican primaries and one Democratic one for state legislative seats. Sebastian County voters have a Republican primary in a state House race to decide.

Party primaries choose nominees who then run in the general election. Arkansas primaries are March 5 in presidential election years. The general election is Nov. 5.

Rep. Grant Hodges, R-Centerton, decided against running for reelection in House District 14. Republican primary voters will decide between political newcomers Nick Burkes of Bentonville and Joshua Hagan of Centerton. The winner will face Democrat Jacob Malloy of Centerton in November.

Rep. Delia Haak, R-Gentry, decided not to run again in House District 17, which includes Siloam Springs. The winner of the Republican primary there will face no major party opposition in November, according to election filings. The primary candidates there both hail from Siloam Springs: Jeremy Criner and Randy Torres.

House District 15 in Rogers drew a Democratic primary, with the winner to challenge incumbent Republican Rep. John Carr. Opponents in that primary are Erin Lee Underhill and Stephanie Funk. All the district's candidates list Rogers addresses.

House District 24 covers southwestern Washington County, but mainly consists of much of Crawford County. Rep. Charlene Fite, R-Van Buren, decided against running for reelection. Candidates Ty Bates of Evansville and Brad Hall of Van Buren filed for the Republican nomination. The primary winner will face Democrat Ryan Intchauspe of Rudy in November.

In Sebastian County, Rep. Cindy Crawford, R-Fort Smith, faces a Republican primary challenge from Jeff Burks, also of Fort Smith. The winner will face Democrat Jane-Ellen Udouj-Kutchka, also of Fort Smith.

In races without primaries but with general election contests, Sen. Jim Dotson, R-Bentonville, drew a Democratic opponent in his District 34 reelection bid, the only contested state Senate election in Northwest Arkansas or the River Valley.

Attorney Kaylee Wedgeworth of Centerton made this race her first bid for elective office. Wedgeworth, daughter of a former public school teacher, said the LEARNS Act education package, which passed with support from the governor and Dotson, will have a "terrible impact" on schools in the state.

In other November contests, Rep. Brit McKenzie, R-Rogers, will face Democrat David McPherson of Garfield in eastern Benton County's House District 7.

Rep. DeAnna Hodges, R-Springdale, will face a rematch with her 2020 Democratic opponent Diana Gonzales Worthen, also of Springdale, in Washington County's House District 9.

Other rematches from 2020 will have Rep. Mindy McAlindon, R-Centerton, face Democrat Kate Schaffer of Bentonville in House District 10 and Rep. Rebecca Burkes, R-Lowell, again facing Democrat Rey Hernandez of Rogers in House District 11. Rep. Chad Puryear, R-Hindsville, faces Democrat Caitlin Tannehill Oxford of Elkins in another rematch from 2020. That race is for House District 25 in Crawford and Washington counties.

In races that are not rematches, Rep. Hope Hendren Duke, R-Gravette, will face Democrat David L. Barber of Sulphur Springs in northwest Benton County's House District 12. Rep. Scott Richard, R-Bentonville, will face Democrat Ashley Sheys, also of Bentonville, in Benton County's District 13.

Rep. Robin Lundstrum, R-Elm Springs, will face Democrat Justin Meeks of Springdale in November in a race for House District 18 in Washington and Benton counties. Rep. Steve Unger, R-Springdale, will face Democrat Billy Cook of Fayetteville in House District 19 in Washington County.

In Fort Smith, Rep. Zack Gramlich will face Democratic challenger Robin W. McCray.

Filings online

Candidate filings at the Secretary of States office: