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What you should know about each Arkansas candidate ahead of primary elections

Arkansas candidates from four different races gathered for the 'Day of Debates,' providing voters with an idea of candidates' stances before ballots are cast.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Primary elections are roughly one month away, which means that candidates are fighting for Arkansans votes. 

That's why the Arkansas Press Association hosted a "Day of Debates" on Thursday, so voters can get an idea of both the candidates' platforms and their beliefs before they cast their ballots.

Candidates from four different races came out, consisting of those running for lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general and governor. 

The debates covered a lot of ground and like most, some arguments were civil, while others were a little more theatrical.

"I think it's a good time to thank you for taking a short break from suing President Biden to join us this morning. This is fun," Lt. Gov. candidate, Kelly Ross Krout said. 

'Fun' is something that some of the candidates and attendees may have been having on Thursday morning at Little Rock Union Station, as the debates were full of activity. 

The 'Day of Debates' started off hot with the lieutenant governor candidates voicing their platforms.

"We cannot have growth and economic prosperity across the state if we don't have an educated and ready workforce," Lt. Gov. candidate, Joseph Wood said. 

Along with big topics like economic growth, another big portion of the debates consisted of candidates simply voicing their opinions on one another.

"No one in the state of Arkansas has ever dialed 9-1-1 and asked for Jason Rapert. That's an absolute fact," Lt. Gov. candidate, Dr. Greg Bledsoe said.

"I would respond to Dr. Bledsoe's attack by saying, sir, you're a second generation politician," Lt. Gov. candidate, Jason Rapert said.

All eight of the candidates attended, including current AG Leslie Rutledge, Sen. Jason Rapert and Surgeon Gen. Greg Bledsoe. 

Candidates were questioned about how they'd handle certain situations, like controlling the senate or having to step in as governor. 

Before lunchtime, all four Secretary of State candidates took the stage. This included incumbent John Thurston and former Pulaski County Election Commissioner, Josh Price.

"I'm running to protect our rights to vote because I saw some things in that position that I did not like," Secretary of State candidate, Josh Price said.

Secretary of State candidates were asked about election rights, voting integrity, and the legal battle with redistricting lines recently approved. 

"There was a lot of work that went into drawing these maps and when I hear the minority argument, it offends me at no end," Secretary of State incumbent, John Thurston said.

That topic continued as the attorney general candidates were also asked about those same redistricting lines, along with vaccine mandates and gender-affirming hormone laws. 

Unfortunately only two out of the four candidates showed up on Thursday. 

One of those no-shows was Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin. Despite his absence, he wasn't forgotten.

"Our current administration has been missing. We've just been missing and it's kind of a metaphor that we're missing Griffin," Attorney Gen. candidate, Jesse Gibson, said.

"I hope that each of you all have learned something here today that those who want to lead should show up," Attorney Gen. candidate, Leon Jones Jr. said.

Alongside the other debates was that of the Gubernatorial debate, which wrapped up the day. 

Half of the 12 governor candidates came to make their case, but that didn't include Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

If you want to vote for any of these candidates, you must be registered by Monday, April 25. 

The primary election will be Tuesday, May 24.

You can see a full list of the candidates here.

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