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Early voting begins for Arkansas Senate District 7 seat

Early voting to decide on the Republican and Democratic candidate in the race for Arkansas Senate District 7 seat begins Dec. 7.

SPRINGDALE, Ark. — Early voting to decide on the Republican and Democratic candidates for the Arkansas State Senate District 7 seat begins Dec. 7 and wraps up on Dec. 10 with Election Day on Dec. 14. 

You can cast your vote early from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Washington County Courthouse. 

Several candidates are throwing their hat in the ring for the seat, previously held by Lance Eads.

Eads resigned from his position Thursday, Oct. 28, to take a job in the private sector. District 7 includes Springdale, Johnson, Goshen and Elkins in eastern Washington County.

"19 Kids and Counting" star, Jim Bob Duggar, announced he was running for the seat on Oct. 29. Duggar previously served in the Arkansas House of Representatives for four years (1999-2002).

Credit: Duggar Family Facebook
Jim Bob Duggar

Springdale resident and retired Navy Captain, Steve Unger, announced his run for the position on Nov. 8. During his years of service, Unger served in various capacities including a medic, surface warfare officer and Chaplain. According to a press release, Unger is a fourth-generation Arkansan whose family called Northwest Arkansas home since the 1870s.

Unger says he is pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-corrections reform, pro-limited government, pro-business, pro-skilled trades education, and pro-grow our power grid. 

Credit: Steve Unger
Steve Unger

On Nov. 9, Colby Fulfer announced he would also be vying for the District 7 seat during the special election. Colby Fulfer currently serves as the Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Springdale, is a former member of the Springdale City council and is also a small business owner.

Credit: Colby Fulfer
Colby Fulfer

Fulfer issued the following statement: 

“We have many critical issues facing our state right now. Whether it’s fighting the drug and opioid epidemic, helping small business owners navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, or defending our personal freedoms and rights, no one will fight harder for our shared values. The residents of this district deserve a Senator who will advocate on their behalf with a strong voice.  I look forward to sharing my conservative values with voters and earning their votes.”  

Democrat Lisa Parks announced her candidacy for the open position on Monday, Nov. 15.

Credit: Lisa Parks Campaign
Lisa Parks

Parks is a Tontitown child welfare attorney and longtime community activist. 

“I’m excited to continue my lifelong career in public service by running for state senate in this special election," Parks said in a press release. "The communities of District 7 are so special and they deserve an advocate who will put our children and grandchildren over all other interests."

Earning her law degree from the University of Arkansas, Parks has worked more than 17 years as a public defender in both Benton and Washington Counties. 

Governor Asa Hutchinson has scheduled the special election for Feb. 8, 2022. The primary for the seat will be held Dec. 14 and a primary runoff if needed will be held on Jan. 11.

The Washington County Democratic Party announced Derek Van Voast will also be running for the seat.

Credit: KFSM
Derek Van Voast

On his Facebook page, Voast writes he is dedicating his life to educating, informing and developing a better future for our children to live in.  

Voast formerly ran for a seat on the Springdale City Council

He is the creator of Building Bridges, a non-profit organization in Northwest Arkansas with the following mission statement -

"To provide young adults who may be challenged with a difficult situation, or family circumstance; with access to support options for self-growth, life skills and leadership skills. To fundamentally “Bridge the Gap” between a difficult situation and a successful start to adult life."

Voast has coached high school football and track in Northwest Arkansas for 10 years. 

Republican Robert Edger "Edge" Nowlin is also vying for the senate seat.

Credit: Robert Edger "Edge" Nowlin
Robert Edger "Edge" Nowlin

On his campaign website, Nowlin wrote, “I'm not a politician. I'm a homegrown Arkansan and I've spent the last 53 years raising my family, serving in our church, building businesses, and creating jobs. I'm guided by my faith, conservative values, family, and firm belief that Arkansas can bear the standard of Liberty for the country.”  

RELATED: Challengers to Duggar emerge for State Senate District 7 seat

RELATED: Arkansas state Senate seat special election set for February

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