Texarkana, TX 35° View Live Radar Tue H 68° L 45° Wed H 64° L 42° Thu H 67° L 44° Weather Sponsored By:

Thurston secures GOP spot in secretary of state race

Thurston secures GOP spot in secretary of state race

May 23rd, 2018 by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Arkansas News

State Land Commissioner John Thurston defeated state Rep. Trevor Drown on Tuesday in the race to earn the Republican nomination for Arkansas secretary of state.

With 97.3% of precincts reporting, unofficial results showed:

Thurston 98,3092

Drown 90,105

Thurston moves on to face Democrat Susan Inman of Little Rock and Libertarian Christopher Olson of Viola in the Nov. 6 general election. The winner of that race will succeed Secretary of State Mark Martin, who is term-limited.

Thurston thanked his opponent in a late Tuesday statement, and he said serving as land commissioner for the past eight years has been a privilege he hopes can continue in the secretary of state's office.

"I am humbled to be the Republican nominee for Secretary of State," Thurston said. "Representative Drown is one of the hardest-working candidates I've known and I appreciate his dedication to the electoral process and his service to our state and country."

The secretary of state's office oversees elections, maintains the state Capitol grounds and processes a number of services for business. The next secretary of state will serve on the Board of Apportionment -- along with the governor and attorney general -- to redraw the state legislative district lines after the 2020 U.S. census.

Both Drown and Thurston acknowledged that gerrymandered districts exist, and they pledged to draw the boundaries in a sensible way. Both oppose a proposal to create an independent commission to redraw the legislative map, noting that Democrats have drawn the lines in the past and it's the Republicans' turn now.

Thurston said recently that he wants to show voters, "yes, we can draw lines that make sense, that are fair to the voter, that keep communities together."

Drown said he's experienced with mapping software that can draw better districts.

Thurston, 45, of East End was elected in 2010 as commissioner of state lands. Before holding that office, Thurston worked in ministry operations at Agape Church in Little Rock.

Drown, 47, of Dover has been the District 68 state representative since 2014. Drown first ran for public office in 2010 as an independent in the U.S. Senate race that Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., won. He spent the previous three decades in the Army National Guard and as a UPS driver. He and his wife also owned a small restaurant coffee and tea supply company.

Both candidates support the state's voter-ID law, which is currently being challenged in court, and they emphasized the importance of securing funding for counties to upgrade their voting equipment.

They disagreed about moving the state toward allowing online voter registration. Drown is hesitant to support such a move because he said it could lead to voter fraud.

Thurston said it makes sense and is inevitable as technology advances. He pointed to other state services such as vehicle registration and drivers licenses, which can be renewed online, as examples.

In a mostly amicable race, the candidates did take jabs at each other's conservative credentials. Thurston noted Drown's 2010 independent Senate run, suggesting that he became a Republican when it was "expedient" during his state House campaign.

Drown responded that he's always been a Republican, and he said the 2010 campaign happened because he was asked to run independently because the Republican field was so crowded.

Drown pointed out that Thurston missed several general elections and Republican primaries in the past. Thurston said he could have been a more engaged voter, but he added that much of the 2000s was spent taking care of his wife, who died in 2007 of cancer.

The next secretary of state will serve a four-year term and draw a yearly salary of $94,554.

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Texarkana Gazette Comments Policy

The Texarkana Gazette web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Gazette web sites and any content on the Gazette web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Gazette, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Gazette web sites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Texarkana Gazette
15 Pine Street
Texarkana, TX 75501
Phone: 903-794-3311
Email: webeditor@texarkanagazette.com