Four candidates — Jake Bequette, Heath Loftis, Jan Morgan, and incumbent John Boozman — are running in the Republican primary on May 24, 2022, for U.S. Senate in Arkansas. Boozman, Bequette, and Morgan have led in polling and fundraising.
In Arkansas, a primary candidate must win more than 50% of the votes cast in order to win the election. If no candidate meets that threshold, a runoff will be held between the top two vote-getters on June 21.
Roby Brock, editor-in-chief of Talk Business & Politics, an Arkansas news website, said, “The key question in the U.S. Senate GOP primary is whether two-term U.S. Senator John Boozman can avoid a runoff election with a decidedly more conservative opponent. While our survey shows Boozman coming up just short of the magic 50% to avoid a costly and time-consuming contest, a chunk of probable GOP primary voters remain undecided.”
Boozman, a former optometrist, was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010. Boozman has the endorsements of former President Donald Trump (R), U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), and former White House Press Secretary and 2022 Arkansas gubernatorial candidate Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R). Boozman has highlighted Trump’s endorsement and has focused on his legislative record, saying, “[President Trump and I] rebuilt our military, stood up for our veterans, helped our farmers through challenging and unprecedented times, confirmed three conservative Justices to the Supreme Court and completely reshaped the judiciary.”
Bequette is a U.S. Army veteran and a former football player from Little Rock. Bequette cited immigration and law enforcement as top issues and has highlighted his military service and time as a player for the Arkansas Razorbacks and the New England Patriots. Bequette described himself as a political outsider, saying, “I’m no squish career politician. I’m a former all-SEC Razorback and an army veteran who left the NFL and volunteered for the 101st Airborne in Iraq.” Reps. Madison Cawthorn (R) and Burgess Owens (R) have endorsed Bequette.
Morgan is a former journalist and gubernatorial candidate who owns a firearms training facility in Hot Springs. Morgan has focused on immigration and election administration and has said she supports term limits. Morgan described herself as a conservative fighter, saying, “America needs aggressive fighters in D.C. who will get in the ring and boldly take on our enemies rather than stand on the sidelines.” Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has endorsed Morgan.
Bequette and Morgan have called Boozman a RINO (Republican in Name Only) and have criticized him for not challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election. Bequette has also criticized Boozman for not committing to a debate. Boozman’s campaign has responded by highlighting Trump’s endorsement and Boozman’s record. In one of Boozman’s campaign ads, the narrator says, “[Boozman] is a workhorse, not a show pony.” It continues, “Others have words; Boozman does the work.”
As of May 2022, groups not directly affiliated with any of the candidates had spent a total of $2,787,346 in the race, the second-largest amount of satellite spending for a primary where a GOP incumbent is running for re-election, according to data from Open Secrets. The Arkansas Patriots Fund has spent $1,471,182 in support of Bequette, the most of any group. The group received a $1M donation from businessman Richard Uihlein last year, according to data from the FEC. Several different groups have spent a combined total of $1,163,214 in support of Boozman.
As of May 2022, three independent election forecasters considered the general election as Solid Republican.