2018 midterms: Lo­cal re­sults

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Hunter McFer­rin Staff Writer hm­c­fer­rin@nwadg.com

The 2018 midterm elec­tions took place on Tues­day when Siloam Springs vot­ers had the op­por­tu­nity to se­lect three of six pos­si­ble can­di­dates to rep­re­sent Wards 1, 3 and 4 on the city’s board of directors.

At the re­gional level, there was an elec­tion to de­ter­mine who would rep­re­sent Dis­trict 87 in the Arkansas State House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and there were also three pro­posed state con­sti­tu­tional amend­ments for vot­ers to weigh in on. Listed be­low are the out­comes of these bal­lot items, along with some ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion.

Ward 1

Mindy Hunt de­feated for­mer city board mem­ber and for­mer Siloam Springs Mayor David Allen with a de­ci­sive 59 per­cent of the vote com­pared to Allen’s 41 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to elec­tion re­sults filed by the Ben­ton County Elec­tion Com­mis­sion. There were also 35 un­der­votes, which oc­curs when a voter de­cides to se­lect be­low the min­i­mum num­ber of op­tions avail­able for a given bal­lot item; mean­ing that in this case, 35 peo­ple voted for nei­ther can­di­date.

The cur­rent di­rec­tor of Ward 1, Steve Beers, chose not to run for re-elec­tion, which ini­tially prompted three can­di­dates to come for­ward and run for the seat. The third can­di­date was Fares Trinidad, who was elim­i­nated from the race af­ter re­ceiv­ing the low­est num­ber of votes in an Aug. 14 pri­mary that had to be held due to city reg­u­la­tions, which man­date that each race con­sist of only two can­di­dates be­fore the Novem­ber elec­tions. Hunt has worked in a variety of ca­pac­i­ties at John Brown Univer­sity for just over 20 years and cur­rently is the co­or­di­na­tor for as­sess­ment re­search for the col­lege of busi­ness, ac­cord­ing to an Aug. 1 re­port from the Her­ald-Leader.

Ward 3

This race was unique in that can­di­date Marla Sap­ping­ton un­seated the in­cum­bent, Frank John­son, by a mar­gin of 57 to 43 per­cent, with 63 un­der­votes, ac­cord­ing to the elec­tion re­sults. The two can­di­dates con­sis­tently op­posed one an­other on sev­eral is­sues, rang­ing from the city’s ef­forts to over­haul the streets in the down­town area to the need for qual­ity of life projects, such as the Kayak Park, which have largely been costly projects in­tended to en­hance the value of the city; but also projects that don’t nec­es­sar­ily pro­duce a steady rev­enue stream. Sap­ping­ton cur­rently works as the Op­er­a­tions Man­ager at the Manna Cen­ter, a lo­cal non­profit whose goal is as­sist­ing low-in­come or home­less in­di­vid­u­als in the com­mu­nity with prob­lems like food and cloth­ing in­se­cu­rity, ac­cord­ing to an Oct. 3 re­port from the Her­aldLeader.

Ward 4

Sim­i­larly to Ward 1, the cur­rent di­rec­tor of Ward 4, Amy Smith, de­cided not to run for re-elec­tion. The can­di­dates who came for­ward to fill this void were Mor­gan Scholz and Lesa Brosch, and Brosch won by a mar­gin of 54 to 46 per­cent, and there were 91 un­der­votes, ac­cord­ing to the elec­tion re­sults. Brosch has ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing for city gov­ern­ment in both Siloam Springs and Fayet­teville and cur­rently works as the Vice Pres­i­dent of Hu­man Re­sources for Crafton Tull, an engineering and ar­chi­tec­tural firm in Rogers, ac­cord­ing to an Oct. 10 re­port from the Her­ald-Leader.

Dis­trict 87

The vic­tor of this race was in­cum­bent State Rep. Robin Lund­strum (R), who de­feated Kelly Scott Unger (D) by a mar­gin of 70 to 30 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to a re­port from the Arkansas Demo­crat Gazette. Dur­ing a Q&A-style can­di­date fo­rum hosted by the Siloam Springs Cham­ber of Com­merce on Oct. 23, both can­di­dates were asked a num­ber of ques­tions per­tain­ing to a variety of is­sues and re­sponded with op­pos­ing stances on nearly all of them; whether it was the le­gal­iza­tion of med­i­cal mar­i­juana or im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy or same-sex mar­riages. This will be Lund­strum’s third term in of­fice and she also runs a rental prop­erty busi­ness called Cy­press In­vest­ments, ac­cord­ing to an Oct. 17 re­port from the Her­ald-Leader.

Con­sti­tu­tional amend­ments

Three pro­posed amend­ments to the state’s con­sti­tu­tion were also on the bal­lot, the first be­ing that a valid photo iden­ti­fi­ca­tion must be pre­sented when one goes to cast a vote in fu­ture elec­tions. Vot­ers over­whelm­ingly sup­ported the bal­lot item, with 79 per­cent in fa­vor and 21 per­cent against, ac­cord­ing to a re­port from the Arkansas Demo­crat Gazette. Vot­ers in Ben­ton County re­mained rel­a­tively con­sis­tent with oth­ers in the state for this is­sue, with 81 per­cent in fa­vor and 19 per­cent against, ac­cord­ing to re­sults pro­vided by the Ben­ton County Elec­tion Com­mis­sion.

The sec­ond amend­ment called for re­quir­ing the state to is­sue four li­censes to per­mit four casi­nos to be­gin op­er­at­ing in var­i­ous ar­eas of the state. The amend­ment was ap­proved by vot­ers, with 54.10 per­cent of Arkansans for and 45.90 per­cent against, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. On the other hand, Ben­ton County voted against the is­sue, with a nar­row mar­gin of 50.53 against and 49.47 per­cent of vot­ers in fa­vor with 5,076 un­der­votes, ac­cord­ing to the re­sults.

The third amend­ment pro­posed rais­ing the Arkansas min­i­mum wage to $11 per hour and was ap­proved by vot­ers by a mar­gin of 68 to 32 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. Equal sup­port for the is­sue was ex­pressed among vot­ers of Ben­ton County, with 68 in fa­vor and 32 op­posed, ac­cord­ing to the re­sults. The wage in­crease will take place grad­u­ally, in­creas­ing from its cur­rent rate of $8.50 per hour to $9.25 per hour on Jan. 1, 2019, $10 per hour on Jan. 1, 2020 and $11 per hour on Jan. 1, 2021.

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