(AP) — President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump qualified for the Arkansas ballot on Monday as the filing period for next year’s election in the state kicked off.
Dozens of candidates filled the state Capitol rotunda to make their bids official for the state’s primary and nonpartisan judicial elections, which will be held on March 5. The filing period ends Nov. 14.
Representatives for Biden and Trump’s campaigns, along with ones representing Republican hopefuls Vivek Ramaswamy, Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley, filed paperwork. Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who launched his bid in April, is expected to file his paperwork in person but has not said when.
Republican Secretary of State John Thurston was the first to file, making his candidacy for state treasurer official. Thurston is running to complete the two years left on the term of Treasurer Mark Lowery, who died in July.
“This will be more than likely my last opportunity to be a part of the filing process and be over this, and I just wanted to be the first one and be available for the rest of this week as the process continues,” Thurston told reporters.
Republicans hold all statewide and federal offices in Arkansas, and Trump easily won the state in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.
Democrats head into the election hoping to break Republicans’ hold on the Legislature. The GOP holds 82 of the 100 seats in the House and 29 of the 35 seats in the Senate. All 100 House seats and 18 Senate seats are up next year.
“I think our goal remains the same as it’s always been,” Democratic Party Chairman Grant Tennille said. “We’ve got to break the legislative supermajority, we just have to.”
Republicans believe they could pick up more seats next year.