FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Arkansas primary election date is approaching quickly, with less than two weeks remaining until Natural State voters will head to the polls on May 24.
One of the highest-profile races is for Lieutenant Governor, where state Attorney General Leslie Rutledge currently leads a crowded Republican field. Here is a complete breakdown of all the candidates in that race:
Frank Gilbert is the Libertarian representative and will move forward to the November vote. Gilbert became the state’s first Libertarian elected to a partisan office when he won the race for Kalb Township Constable in 2012.
Kelly Ross Krout is the lone Democrat in the field, and she will be on the ballot for the general election in November. The lifelong Arkansan has lived in Northwest Arkansas for 17 years and lives in Lowell. On her campaign website, she states that, “My experience as a foster mom has shown me the challenges that so many in Arkansas face.”
There are half a dozen candidates vying for the Republican nomination.
Chris Bequette appeared in four straight bowl games as a lineman for the Arkansas Razorbacks from 1984-1987. He lives in Little Rock and worked as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney before entering the financial sector.
Dr. Greg Bledsoe was appointed by Governor Asa Hutchinson to be the Surgeon General for the State of Arkansas, a position he continues to hold. He grew up in Rogers, lives in Little Rock, and continues to practice Emergency Medicine.
Jason Rapert was first elected to the Arkansas State Senate in 2010 He is Chairman of the Senate State Agencies Committee. He is a small business owner, licensed financial advisor and insurance agent and lives near Conway.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge dropped out of the gubernatorial race on November 9, 2021 and immediately redirected her efforts toward the Lieutenant Governor’s election. She was sworn into office as the Attorney General in 2015 and is the state’s first woman and Republican to be elected to that office. She is a former prosecutor and her law practice focused on administrative law, state and local government and election law.
Doyle Webb became the first Republican Justice of the Peace and State Senator elected in Saline County and served as Chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party from 2008-2020. He lives in Benton.
Joseph Wood is serving his second term as a Washington County judge. Before that, he served as the Deputy Secretary of State for Business and Commercial Services and Education Divisions.
Dr. Jay Barth of Hendrix College has been following the race and analyzing poll results, and offered some thoughts:
Attorney General Rutledge does have a significant name identification advantage through her statewide campaigns and her regular advertisements in her official role as Attorney General. Because of her name identification advantage, as turnout goes up in the primary her chances of winning without a runoff increase. If turnout is particularly low, however, other candidates with more limited but enthusiastic followings are more likely to keep her under 50 percent and to force a runoff.
Dr. Jay Barth, M.E. and Ima Graves Peace Distinguished Professor of Politics, Emeritus, Hendrix
Early voting is now underway across the state. If you need to verify your voter registration, you can do that here. Election day is May 24. KNWA is your local election headquarters, and you can follow all of our coverage here.