Stephanie, Cindy, and Stacey Darr of Tulsa stood tall with their family Tuesday night at the watch party in downtown Little Rock, as their cousin, Republican Mark Darr, won the Arkansas Lt. Governor’s race.
It was one of many victories for the Arkansas Republican party, now with
15 State Senator and 44 State House seats, the most Republican
legislators Arkansas has ever had at one time.
While several candidates conceded early in the evening, the Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, and Land Commissioner races were the most heated. Vote tallies for those races were considered well into the early dawn. Final counts Wednesday revealed that republicans had won all three of those elections, too.
At the watch party for the newly elected Lt. Governor Darr, it was a “family” atmosphere. That perhaps was part of the difference and charm of the Darr campaign.
“We are so proud of him,” Stephanie Darr, of Tulsa, said. It was a genuine sentiment, heard time and again throughout the evening and as the Lt. Governor took to the podium to give updates.
Although ballot counts frequently sea-sawed, Stephanie, Cindy, Stacey, brother Phillip, wife Kim, and children Madison and Cooper, all stood strong. Members of his church, friends from college, and campaign supporters were also vigilant and kind, offering a pat on the back or reminder of hope.
Regardless of how things evolved, race updates never brought tension. Children quietly played and adults gathered until available information seemingly dissipated. Skot Colvert, the campaign scheduler, among many others, worked tirelessly all evening, constantly verifying updates.
It was after 2a.m. Wednesday morning, according to Curtis Coleman, President of the Institute for Constitutional Policy and designated watch party speaker, when Darr told everyone, “It’s time to go home.”
“At that point, we had more than 21,000 votes in Benton County. Although we didn’t know when they would be counted in the state totals, we knew that he was going to win,” Coleman said.
That set the final tone for this evening at the Courtyard that wrapped up a lot like a traditional Christmas Eve, with that same anticipation for what the morning would bring.
“Voters can trust that they will get what they voted into office when it comes to Mark,” Coleman said. “He is just a regular guy from Rogers, Arkansas. He did live in Little Rock for a while and owned a pizza business. He is the real deal in every way–a genuine and sincere guy.”
He continued, “What he said to voters, he meant. He is exactly who he claimed to be throughout the election. I think he is going to be an extraordinary public servant.”
Lt. Governor Darr currently resides in Springdale, Arkansas. A conservative Baptist, he was raised in Mansfield, where he graduated high school in 1991.
Photo 1: Curtis Coleman, Kim Darr, Mark Darr, and Phillip Darr at the Watch Party in downtown Little Rock hosted at the Courtyard by the Marriott election night.
Photo 2: Arkansas Lt. Governor Darr and wife Kim.
Photo 3: Stephanie
Darr, Cindy Darr Crowder, Carol Darr Buchanan, Karen Darr Morris, Stacey Darr
Photo 4: Stephanie, Cindy and Stacey Darr sit with other family members at the watch party in Little Rock.
Photos and story by Tracy Crain, special to Tulsa Today. Crain is a print reporter and regular contributor to Tulsa Today. Throughout her career, she has served as a features writer, a web producer and a creative copywriter. An award winning journalist, her work has appeared in publications nationally, aired on television stations across the country, and is regularly featured on Sirius Satellite Radio. She has a Master‘s Degree in Journalism.