In late October, Arkansas state Senator Lance Eads (R-7) resigned to take a lobbying job. Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) then scheduled the primary for December 14th, the primary runoff for January 11th, and the special election for February 8th.
Four candidates ran for the Republican nomination: Jim Bob Duggar (a reality TV star known for 19 Kids and Counting), Colby Fulfer, Robert “Edge” Nowlin, and Steve Unger. Two candidates ran for the Democratic nomination: Derek Van Voast and Lisa Parks.
The results are currently unofficial and have yet to be certified.
Lisa Parks won the Democratic primary in a landslide with 84% of the vote. Derek Van Voast, her opponent, only got 16%.
On the Republican side, Colby Fulfer came in first place, with 47% of the vote, Steve Unger came in second with 32%, Jim Bob Duggar came in a distant third with 15%, and Edge Nowlin only received 6%.
Since no Republican got a majority, a runoff election will be held between the top two candidates, Fulfer and Unger, on January 11th. Duggar and Nowlin have been eliminated.
Jim Bob Duggar’s son, Josh Duggar, was found guilty of receiving and possessing child pornography right before the primary, which almost certainly contributed to Duggar’s electoral loss.
Nearly a decade ago, Josh had molested multiple, underage girls — including his own sisters. Jim Bob waited months to report the crimes to law enforcement, and when he finally did: he chose state trooper Joseph Hutchins (later charged for child porn), who swept it under the rug until the statute of limitations had passed and Josh couldn’t be charged.
Associated Press. “Arkansas state Senate seat special election set for February”. abc7, 2 Nov. 2021, https://katv.com/news/local/arkansas-state-senate-seat-special-election-set-for-february.
Ben Kesslen. “Ex-reality TV star Josh Duggar found guilty in child pornography trial”. New York Post, 9 Dec. 2021, https://nypost.com/2021/12/09/josh-duggar-found-guilty-in-child-pornography-trial/.
Doug Thompson. “Democratic state Senate candidates promise to represent all district residents”. Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 6 Dec. 2021, https://web.archive.org/web/20211215035929/https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2021/dec/06/democratic-state-senate-candidates-promise-to/?elections.
Doug Thompson. “Four candidates contest special Republican primary for state Senate District 7 race”. Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 6 Dec. 2021, https://www.nwaonline.com/news/2021/dec/06/four-candidates-contest-special-republican/.
Doug Thompson. “State Sen. Lance Eads of Springdale resigns, accepts lobbying job”. Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 29 Oct. 2021, https://web.archive.org/web/20211105141523/https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2021/oct/29/state-sen-lance-eads-of-springdale-resigns/?news-politics.
Katrina Schollenberger. “FALL FROM GRACE What to know about Josh Duggar’s sexual abuse scandal”. The U.S. Sun, 9 Dec. 2021, https://www.the-sun.com/entertainment/1119694/josh-duggar-19-kids-and-counting-tlc-abuse/.
Rebekah Riess. “Reality star Jim Bob Duggar announces candidacy for Arkansas state Senate”. CNN Politics, 29 Oct. 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/29/politics/arkansas-state-senate-jim-bob-duggar/index.html.
Washington County. “Summary Results Report”. Washington County, 14 Dec. 2021, https://www.washingtoncountyar.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/26149/637751139869275948.