by Karen Sherrell
The midterm election yielded a few surprises and upsets for some candidates, some winning by only a few votes, and voters sent a resounding message to Congress. Democrats have relinquished their control over the Senate, and Republicans retained control of the House as well.
In Arkansas, Republican candidates faired well in state races with Asa Hutchinson winning the Governor’s seat; Tim Griffin, Lieutenant Governor; Leslie Rutledge, Attorney General; Mark Martin, Secretary of State; Dennis Milligan, State Treasurer; Andrea Lea, Auditor of State; and John Thurston, Commissioner of State Lands.
Linda Collins-Smith won her bid for State Senate District 19 winning each of the five counties she represents: Fulton, Izard, Independence, Sharp and Randolph. Collins-Smith garnered 2,575 in Izard County over Democratic opponent James McLean’s 1,735.
Republican candidate Michelle Gray upset incumbent Tommy Wren (D), winning the State Representative District 62 seat, covering Izard, Sharp, Stone and Independence counties. Wren won in Izard County 2,238 to Gray’s 2,127, but lost to Gray in the other three counties.
Izard County showed a 57% voter turnout, a high number for a midterm election.
In Horseshoe Bend the number was even higher. Sixty-seven percent of the registered voters in Horseshoe Bend turned out to vote, and re-elected Bob Barnes their mayor. Barnes had a narrow victory of 31 votes; 414 votes to opponent Chuck Spangler’s 383. Barnes won in Wards 1, 2 and 3, with the following votes; Ward 1, 48-46; Ward 2, 133-111; Ward 3, 86-75. Spangler took Ward 4 with four votes, 151-147.
Ward 4, Position 1 Alderman in Horseshoe Bend was a close race, with incumbent John Grochowski taking the victory by only two votes. Grochowski garnered 143 votes to opponent Butch Van Zandt’s 141.
Rhonda Halbrook won the mayor’s seat in Melbourne over Mike Cone, 387-285. Halbrook is the first woman to serve as mayor of Melbourne for over 40 years. Halbrook told Pacesetting Times she’s not the first woman to hold that office in Melbourne, with Jan Lawrence serving in the 1970’s, and a woman filling in the duties of mayor during WWII.
Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence retained his office with 2,813 votes over Republican Walter Hagan’s 1,549. Bryant K. Lamb won Gid Constable over Kelly Anderson, 50-35. Kathy Roberts is the Mayor of Guion, defeating Larry Pittman 19-15.
Greg Stuart won the mayor’s seat in Oxford over incumbent Steve Stevenson in a close race, 107-100. Thomas Norvold defeated incumbent Jetta Peters in a close race for Oxford Ward 4, Position 1 council seat, 102-99.

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