CONWAY, Ark. — One midterm race in Arkansas came down to an incredibly narrow margin.
Arkansas’s House District 56 race was decided by 10 votes, according to the Faulkner County Election Commission’s unofficial results. After provisional ballots were tabulated Monday, Rep. Steve Magie will serve a sixth term in that role.
Magie held only a slim, four vote lead over Trent Minner after Election Day. Absentee and provisional ballots had not yet been counted, and election commissioners held a meeting Monday to sort through those. Election coordinator Laura Wiles said around 50 people came to watch.
“A lot of people wanted to show up to see what was going to be the outcome once the provisionals were counted,” Wiles said.
Wiles said people from both campaigns and others from the public were given explanations for why each ballot was counted or discarded. The result was complete transparency and accuracy.
“It’s always important to be as transparent as you can possibly be,” Wiles said. “We tried to do that yesterday.”
Magie said he was unsure of which way the votes would go.
“It was real close and exhausting,” Magie said. “It was an exhausting process.”
In a statement, Minner said he did not know whether he planned to ask for a recount. An Arkansas House spokesperson said the House Organizational Meeting planned for this week will be postponed due to an expected recount.
“We have not yet made a decision on whether to request a recount,” Minner said. “I have full faith in the integrity of our elections here in Arkansas and the competency of both the Faulkner County Clerk’s Office and the Faulkner County Election Commission. If we do request a recount it will just be to double-check our math one final time due to how close this race was. With or without a recount, we will accept the final outcome as the people’s decision.”
Magie attributed his victory to longstanding relationships with people in the community.
“Most people by now know my cell phone number in this district,” Magie said. “If they don’t, they can find it somewhere.”
Magie said the race was close, but he is ready to put it behind him and get back to legislative work.
“We’ll go back down there and start the work of the state again,” Magie said.