Republicans Bart Hester and Jon Woods, who won election to the state Senate this week, drew four-year terms in the upper chamber on Thursday.
Hester, a political newcomer who lives in Cave Springs, was unopposed in Tuesday’s general election after beating Rep. Tim Summers, R-Bentonville, in the May 22 primary election for the newly created District 1 seat encompassing Bentonville and surrounding areas.
Woods, a state House member from Springdale, defeated Sen. Bill Pritchard, R-Elkins, in the May primary and beat Democrat Diana Gonzales Worthen on Tuesday for the District 7 seat encompassing Springdale and parts of eastern Washington County.
(Woods is seen in the picture accompanying this story speaking with U.S. Rep.-elect Tom Cotton, R-Ark., center, at a recent event in Springdale hosted by the political action committee Conservative Arkansas. Hester is seen at right.)
State senators normally serve four-year terms, but when Senate districts are redrawn every 10 years after a U.S. Census, newly elected members draw lots, with 18 members receiving a four-year term and 17 receiving a two-year term. That ensures about half the 35-member Senate is up for election every two years. A two-year term doesn’t count against the eight-year term limit facing state senators. Those who draw a two-year term can serve 10 years.
Legislative boundaries were redrawn in the summer of 2011 following the 2010 census.
Among others in Northwest Arkansas who won Senate elections on Tuesday, Republican incumbent Cecile Bledsoe of Rogers and Fayetteville Democrat Uvalde Lindsey drew two-year terms.
First-term Sen.-elect Jim Hendren, a Gravette Republican replacing his father, Kim Hendren, drew a four-year term.
Bledsoe, Lindsey and Hendren ran unopposed in the primary and general elections.