Democratic state Rep. Steve Magie took a 10-vote lead today over Republican challenger Trent Minner in the Arkansas House District 56 race.
Unofficial vote totals after provisional and absentee ballots were taken into account by the Faulkner County Election Commission:
Steve Magie. 4,051
Trent Minner. 4,041
Howard Heffington 273
Heffington ran as a Libertarian.
The three-member commission, consisting of two Republicans and one Democrat, reviewed 118 in-person provisional ballots; just five of those were counted. Ballots were ruled out for reasons ranging from voters not being registered in Faulkner County to late registration to failure to register. A few voters had moved out of the county
The panel also accepted and counted 34 absentee ballots that had not been counted on election night.
The commission and spectators from both the Magie and Minner campaigns as well as others gathered in the old county courthouse for almost five hours while the panel went through the provisional ballots one by one. No one in the room voiced any audible objections during the process, and commissioners seemed in agreement throughout the process.
Both Doyle Webb, a former chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas, and Cody Hiland, recently recommended for that position by Gov.-elect Sarah Sanders, were present much of the afternoon as was Josh Price, voter protection coordinator for the Arkansas Democratic Party.
A recount is still possible. Minner declined to comment on whether he planned to ask for one.
In a Facebook post, the commission said two military ballots in House District 56 are outstanding. They will be counted if they arrive by late next week. We had earlier thought none of the ballots were in the district.
Minner, an assistant state attorney general and Conway native, and Magie, a Conway opthamologist, were cordial. Upon arrival, Minner walked up to Magie and greeted him.
Magie said he was “humbled” and “not surprised” the race was so close and had expected it to be so in light of recent redistricting. “My opponent ran a good campaign, and I ran a good campaign. The voters have spoken,” Magie said.