Arkansas voters on Tuesday approved a measure legalizing casinos in four counties, including at a horse track and dog track that already offer video poker and other electronic gambling, The Associated Press reported.
Voters on Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment that allows the casinos at the Southland dog track in West Memphis and the Oaklawn horse track in Hot Springs. The measure also legalizes casinos in Pope and Jefferson counties.
The Cherokee and Quapaw tribes in Oklahoma spent more than $4 million combined campaigning for the measure, which supporters have touted as a way to keep gambling revenue in Arkansas. The state Supreme Court last month rejected two lawsuits that tried to get the proposal disqualified from the ballot.
In Garland County, the final, unofficial results were:
Issue No. 4, an amendment that would allow casino gaming at Oaklawn and Southland, along with new casinos in Pope and Jefferson counties, was leading in Garland County and statewide in early returns Tuesday night.
In Garland County, 9,402 had voted "for" Issue No. 4, while 7,378 voted "against," with nearly 95 percent of the precincts reporting. Statewide, the issue was leading with 132,990 votes "for" and 120,711 votes "against." Visit the newspaper's website, http://www.hotspringssr.com for the latest election returns.
Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson won re-election in Arkansas on Tuesday, defeating a long-shot Democratic rival who targeted the incumbent over the state's Medicaid work requirement.
Hutchinson defeated Democratic nominee Jared Henderson, who had trailed the governor in fundraising and polling ahead of the midterm election. Hutchinson, a former congressman and federal Homeland Security official, was first elected governor in 2014.
Hutchinson has touted $150 million in tax cuts he has signed into law since taking office, along with a measure he championed requiring public high schools offer computer science courses. He also has called for a reorganization of state government that would cut the number of agencies directly reporting to him from 42 to 15.
"It says that Arkansas is going in the right direction and the voters recognize that and they like the plan for the future," Hutchinson told The Associated Press on Tuesday night. "So it resonated with the voters of Arkansas that we ought to have a new highway plan, raise teacher salaries, to transform state government and lower taxes."
Henderson said he was disappointed with the loss, but he "very likely" would run again for office.
"I'm optimistic about the future although I would have liked to have won tonight," he told the AP.
The governor was a critic of the federal health care overhaul, but after taking office supported keeping the state's Medicaid expansion under that law. More than 250,000 people are on Arkansas' expansion, which uses state and federal funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents.
Henderson, a former Teach for America executive, has criticized the governor over the state's requirement that some on its Medicaid expansion work or lose coverage. Arkansas was the first state to implement a Medicaid work requirement after the Trump administration said it would allow states to require participants to work to keep coverage. Nearly 8,500 people have lost coverage for not complying with the requirement.
Hutchinson has defended the requirement and said the majority-GOP Legislature wouldn't keep the expansion program without the mandate in place.
Henderson also targeted Hutchinson over widening corruption probes that have led to convictions and indictments of several former lawmakers, including the governor's nephew.
Republicans control all partisan statewide offices in Arkansas and both chambers of the state Legislature.
The race also featured Libertarian nominee Mark West.
Local on 11/07/2018
Print Headline: Issue 4 leads in early returns in Garland County, statewide