LITTLE ROCK, AR– A number of big races were decided on Tuesday, May 18. In the 2nd Congressional District seat race, Tim Griffin beat out Scott Wallace for the Republican nomination.
He will face the winner of a Democratic run-off next month, between House Speaker Robbie Wills and State Senator Joyce Elliot.
Many picked Wills as the favorite in that race going in, but Elliott says she isn’t surprised by the results.
“It was a great evening for us because we worked so hard to get there,” the state senator said.
That is how Elliot says she remembers the night that sent her campaign into a run-off against representative Wills.
The moment officials called the race Tuesday blurred election night into the beginning of a new campaign.
“We’ve had a very short period of shut-eye,” Elliot said about the long hours that have restarted at the campaign office.
Amid election night’s anxiety and excitement, Elliot says her focus all along was to get to this point: still be in the race on May 19.
“As the returns kept coming in, they kept getting better and better and we were assured pretty early on that we would be in the runoff and that’s what we were working for,” she said.
Wills adds, “With 5 candidates in the race you have to expect a run-off. We’ve been expecting this from the beginning.”
Both candidates now have two big challenges ahead: running abbreviated, yet effective campaigns, and getting voters back to the polls on June 8.
Elliot says that now involves letting voters know the key differences between herself and her democratic challenger.
“Not that any person is all right or anybody is all wrong, but, we just simply lost a balance in how we use politics to help people,” said the state senator.
Wills says his campaign’s strategy “is to continue talking about getting the economy back on track,” along with other issues.
Pundits had their opinions going into the 2nd Congressional District race, but Elliot says her goal is to win and she’s glad to have another chance.
The 2nd Congressional seat opened after Congressman Vic Snyder announced his retirement in January.
If Elliot takes the Democratic nomination and goes on to win the general election, it will be the first time an African-American has been elected to congress in Arkansas, at least, since the 1870s.
Chad Causey and Tim Wooldridge will also be in a run-off about three weeks from now, in the race for Arkansas’ 1st Congressional District seat. They are both vying for the democratic ticket.
Whoever wins the run-off will face Republican Rick Crawford in the general election. He handily defeated Princella Smith Tuesday, with 73 percent of the votes.
In the district races, Cecile Bledsoe and Steve Womack will be in a run-off in the 3rd District, hoping to make it onto the Republican ticket.
They will face David Whitaker, the only Democrat running for the office.
Mike Ross was the only Democrat running in the District 4 races. In November, he will face Republican Beth Anne Rankin, who defeated Glenn Gallas.