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story.lead_photo.caption Kelly Scott Unger

Kelly Scott Unger, a lawyer and political newcomer, will run as a Democrat for the District 87 state House seat, she announced Monday.

The seat is held by Rep. Robin Lundstrum, R-Elm Springs, who plans to seek a third term.

Scott Unger is the first Democrat to announce and the first candidate of any affiliation to challenge Lundstrum. Candidate filing for state offices begins Feb. 22 and ends March 1. The general election is Nov. 6. Members of the House serve two-year terms.

This challenge would be the first time either Lundstrum or her predecessor in that district, former state Rep. Jonathan Barnett, R-Siloam Springs, faced a Democratic general election opponent. The district was cited by name in 2014 by then-chairman of the Washington County Republican party, Lance Johnson, as a safe GOP district.

"Well, it's pretty obvious that if you could win the Republican primary in Jonathan Barnett's district, for instance, you were as good as elected," Johnson said then.

All residents of the district deserve representation, Scott Unger said, and a choice.

"I believe in a two-party system, and I'm hoping to involve all the residents of the district in the political process. There is no reason anyone should ever go unopposed," she said.

Scott Unger, 35, is a former deputy prosecuting attorney in Washington County who is now a government and trade affairs lawyer for Simmons Foods' pet foods division. That job requires she help the company navigate the patchwork of different laws, standards and regulations through the United States and in foreign markets, she said.

"I want to be a common sense advocate for access to health care, stronger public schools, and a criminal justice system that serves the public," Scott Unger said.

The candidate has lived in the region since arriving at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, to begin studying for her bachelor's degree in agricultural communications. She received her degree in 2003. She then went to law school at the university. Her hometown was Smackover, in south Arkansas.

District 87 straddles the Benton-Washington county line, stretching from the Oklahoma border through Tontitown to Springdale.

General News on 01/10/2018

Print Headline: Democrat to challenge Lundstrum

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