NOVEMBER 8, 2006 - Posted at 7:28 a.m. CST
LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Democrats picked up three seats in the Arkansas House of Representatives, giving the party a 75-to-25 margin.
Unofficial returns showed the breakdown in the Senate remained the same: 27 Democrats and eight Republicans.
Seventeen seats in the 35-member Senate and all 100 seats in the House were up for election, but uncontested races and the May primaries narrowed the number of actual races yesterday to about a fourth of the Legislature's seats.
Voters decided three contested seats in the Senate and 32 in the House.
Representative Benny Petrus, a Stuttgart Democrat, had no opponent and returns to the Legislature, where he will be the House speaker next year. Senator Jack Critcher, a Batesville Democrat, who will lead the Senate next year as president pro tem, is in the middle of his term.
In Senate District Eleven, Democratic Representative Robert Thompson of Paragould had 75 percent of the vote while Republican Lloyd W- Clark of Powhatan had 25 percent with 70 percent of the precincts reporting.
Incumbent Democratic Senator Terry Smith of Hot Springs won with 62 percent of the vote while Republican Gabe Allen of Hot Springs Village had 38 percent in District 19 with 83 percent of the precincts. And Republican Representative Bill Pritchard of Elkins won with 54 percent of the vote, while Democrat Lynn Carver of Springdale had 46 percent for the District 35 Senate seat with all the precincts reporting.
Of the 32 House contests, 11 races involved incumbents:
_District 27, Democrat Representative Dawn Creekmore won with 70 percent of the vote to Republican Art Copeland's 30 percent with all the votes counted.
_District 30, Republican Representative Bill Sample won with 57 percent of the vote to Democrat Ginna Watson's 43 percent with 38 percent of the precincts reporting.
_District 49, Democrat Representative Mark Pate won with 63 percent to Republican Ricky Thomas' 37 percent with all of the votes counted.
_District 53, Democrat Representative Denny Sumpter won with 60 percent of the vote to Republican Ray Nassar's 40 percent with all of the votes counted.
_District 73, Democrat Representative J.R. Rogers had 71 percent of the vote to Republican Chad Moseley's 29 percent with 28 percent of the precincts reporting.
_District 76, Democrat Representative Ray Kidd won with 55 percent of the vote to Republican Byron Holt's 45 percent with all of the votes counted.
_District 86, Democrat Representative Monty Davenport had 53 percent to Republican Kelley Linck's 47 percent with all of the precincts reporting.
_District 87, Republican Representative Mark Martin won with 62 percent of the vote to independent Jimmie Johnson's 38 percent with 79 percent of the precincts reporting.
_District 90, Republican Representative Roy Ragland had 62 percent of the vote to Democrat Eddie Yancey's 38 percent with 70 percent of the precincts reporting.
_District 92, Democrat Representative Lindsley Smith won with 73 percent of the vote to Republican Cephus Richard III's 27 percent with all of the votes counted.
_District 97, Republican Representative Mike Kenney led with 94 percent of the voter to write-in Sid Sargent's 6 percent with all of the votes counted.
The Legislature will have fewer veteran legislators because of term limits. Representatives Jodie Mahony of El Dorado in District Six, Buddy Blair of Fort Smith in District 65, and Jay Bradford of Pine Bluff in District 18 -- with a total of 80 years in the Legislature among them -- aren't returning to the state Capitol in January. Instead, voters decided among newcomers to replace them.
In District Six, Democrat John Lowery won with 76 percent to Republican Alphonso Nation's 24 percent with all of the votes counted. In District 65, Democrat Tracy Pennartz won 62 percent while Republican Mike Helm had 38 percent with all of the votes counted. In District 18, Democrat Toni Bradford won 69 percent to Republican Ted Harden's 31 percent with all of the votes in. Toni Bradford is no relation to Jay Bradford.
The most experienced House members in the legislative session beginning in January will have only four years under their belts. Among the few veterans returning, Senator John Paul Capps, a Searcy Democrat, with 42 years in the Legislature, and Senator Bobby L. Glover, a Carlisle Democrat, with 24 years experience, had no opposition this year.