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Bipartisan race

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The rise of Republicanism in Arkansas has brought a rare two-party race to the state Senate in Southeast Arkansas, traditionally a Democratic stronghold.

Mike Akin, a Monticello furniture manufacturer and member of the UA Board of Trustees, has started a Facebook page for his Republican candidacy for District 26, now held by term-limited Democratic Sen. Jimmy Jeffress of Crossett.

Akin will have plenty of resources (and some likely criticism over self-dealing he's done with agencies he's overseen — a housing project at UA-Monticello and a state subsidy when he was on the Economic Development Commission). He'll have Democratic opposition. Potential contenders include Rep. Eddie Cheatham of Crossett and former Rep. Gregg Reep of Warren.

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