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OPINION: Two State Senate races appear on Benton County ballots

Seven House races areon local ballots; onlyone judicial runoff set October 7, 2020 at 5:24 a.m.

The many different ballots in Benton County for the Nov. 3 General Election include a non-partisan judicial race left over from the March elections for but a handful of voters near the Benton-Washington County line area.

There are, however, seven of the nine state House of Representative seats up for voters to select on Election Day.

The lone judicial runoff race is for a district judgeship in Washington County that only a few voters in the Springdale area will see on their Benton County ballots.

District 2, Division 4, Judgeship

Terra Stephenson of Fayetteville, a long-time prosecutor in the Washington County Prosecuting Attorney's office will face Mark N. Scalise, a business attorney who has returned to Northwest Arkansas after having practiced business and corporate law in Pennsylvania and Arkansas, for this seat.

Stephenson led the non-partisan judicial race ticket back in March in a field of three candidates, with over 49% of the vote, but failed to garner 51% of the vote to win outright.

State Senate Races

Two of the four state Senate seats with areas of representation in Benton County are up for voters' selection on Nov. 3.

A race has developed for the state Senate Dist. 1 seat between incumbent State Senator Bart Hester of Centerton and a political newcomer, Ronette Frances of Rogers.

Hester is seeking his third term in the Arkansas state Senate. He recently lost a bid to become the state Senate's president by a vote of his Senate colleagues.

On the western side of Benton County, in the State Senate District 2 race, incumbent State Senator Jim Hendren of Gravette will face political newcomer Ryan Craig of Siloam Springs.

Hendren has served on the Gravette School Board, three two-year terms in the state House and is seeking his third term in the state Senate. He recently completed a term as the President Pro Tempore of the Senate.

For clarification, not all of Arkansas' 35 state Senate seats are up for election in the 2020 cycle. Neither Republican State Senator Cecile Bledsoe of District 3 in Rogers, or Senator Bob Ballenger of Hindsville, Senate District 5, are up for re-election in 2020.

State House Races

Of the nine state House districts, which involve Benton County voters, seven of those House districts have active races to be decided in the November election.

Both GOP state Reps. Austin McCollum of Rogers, in House District 95, and Gayla Hendren McKenzie, from Gravette, in House District 92, are unopposed in 2020.

In House District 87, incumbent Republican Robin Lundstrum of Springdale will face Democrat Michael Bennett-Spears. Lundstrum is a former Elm Springs City Council member and is seeking her 4th term in the House.

In House District 90, there is no incumbent as Rep. Jana Della Rosa, a Republican, fell in a GOP primary contest in March. Democrat newcomer Kelly Ross Krout and GOP newcomer Kendon Underwood will face off for this seat.

In District 91, incumbent Dan Douglas has retired from the House. Those in the race for his former seat, include political newcomer Delia Haak, a Republican, and Democrat challenger Nick Jones.

Incumbent Republican Rep. Jim Dotson, of Bentonville, faces a challenge from Democratic newcomer Daisy Bonilla, also of Bentonville. Dotson will be seeking his fifth term in the House. He has previously served on the Bentonville City Council.

State Representative Rebecca Petty is not seeking District 94 seat this November. Political newcomers John P. Carr, a Republican, and Democrat Jene Huffman-Gilreath are squaring off for this House seat in Rogers.

Incumbent Representative Grant Hodges of Rogers, who represented District 96, in Rogers, resigned his seat to take a position with the state government. To fill this spot, veteran Democratic candidate Jon Comstock, an attorney, will face former Benton County Justice of the Peace Joshua Bryant for the seat. Comstock has run unsuccessfully for Circuit Judge and a state Senate seat in Benton County.

And in the far-flung District 97 seat, which covers parts of Washington, Madison, Carroll and a tiny portion of Benton County, incumbent Representative Harlan Breaux, a Republican, is seeking re-election. His challenger is Susie Bell, a Democrat.

Next week: Who is on the ballot for President, U.S. Senate and 3rd District Congress.


Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at [email protected] The opinions expressed are those of the author.


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