Bryant defeats Davenport

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					Bryant defeats Davenport                                                                   Page 1 of 3

Publication: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Date:2010 Jun 09; Section:Arkansas; Page
Number: 11

Bryant defeats Davenport
O’Brien wins secretary of state runoff

  L.J. Bryant bested Monty Davenport in Tuesday night’s runoff for the Democratic nomination
for Arkansas land commissioner, closing out an unusually high-profile contest for a relatively
obscure statewide office.
  Bryant, a Newport resident who runs a tax service in Jonesboro, and Davenport, a state
representative from Yellville, were the top vote-getters in the May 18 primary.
  Bryant portrayed his unofficial win as a victory over the political establishment, which he said
backed Davenport, even though Bryant won the backing of the Arkansas Realtors Association,
which maintains a lobbying presence at the state Capitol.
  “The establishment was against us,” Bryant said. “The folks said they didn’t care what the
establishment said and voted for us. Ultimately, Arkansans made the choice.”
  With 2,341 of 2,388 precincts reporting, the unofficial results were:
Bryant ..................... 140,186 Davenport................ 96,549
  Meanwhile, Pulaski County Clerk Pat O’Brien easily defeated state Land Commissioner Mark
Wilcox in the runoff election for the Democratic nomination for secretary of state.
  O’Brien, 40, of Jacksonville, finished first in a threeway race in the primary but couldn’t avoid
a runoff with Wilcox, 50, of Wooster.
  “I’m very excited,” O’Brien said. “I want to thank the voters of Arkansas for giving me the
opportunity, and I won’t let them down.”
  With 2,341 of 2,388 precincts reporting, the unofficial results were:
O’Brien . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149,122 Wilcox . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92,735
  Wilcox called and congratulated O’Brien on the victory.
  “We kept our campaign clean, ran hard and did what we could do,” he said. “They’re not
handing him the keys yet ... but I think he’ll be the next secretary of state.”
  In the land commissioner’s race, Bryant, 23, and Davenport, 62, a Yellville real estate broker
and cattle rancher, clashed over their visions for the office, which primarily oversees the
disposition of tax-delinquent property. Since 2003, the office has helped collect more than $40
million in unpaid taxes and returned about 49,000 parcels to taxgenerating status, according to
the office’s website.
  The commissioner is paid $54,305 annually.
  In the campaign, Bryant touted a plan for the state to finance the development of an aerial
image of property statewide to be used to help market tax-delinquent land, something he
estimated would cost $1.3 million.
  “If I am ultimately elected to the position of land commissioner, I will use all available
technological resources to make that office more effective at generating revenue for local public
schools and local county governments,” Bryant said. “I’ll also focus on making it easier for folks
to pay if their real estate taxes become delinquent.”
  Attempts to contact Davenport after the vote Tuesday were unsuccessful.
  However, in earlier statements, Davenport scoffed at Bryant’s plan, saying it was “half-
cooked” and would cost significantly more — about $15 million, according to state officials —
than Bryant claimed. Bryant, in turn, criticized Davenport for collecting more than $52,000 in
expenses last year as a lawmaker for a job that pays about $15,000 a year.
  Bryant was referring to amounts Davenport, like other legislators, received for attendance
while on legislative business, mileage and expenses. All state lawmakers were paid $15,615 in
salary in 2009, with the exception of the House speaker and Senate president pro tempore, who
got $17,486 each. Mileage, expenses and per diem are paid in addition to legislative salaries.
  During the campaign, Davenport said his legislative expenses reflected the fact that he
attended many committee meetings to do his best representing his district and is paid mileage
for about 150 miles to Little Rock, then another 150 miles to drive home.
  Mike Berg, who finished third in the May 18 Democratic primary for land commissioner,
endorsed Davenport as his choice to be nominee. Berg of Little Rock, an owner of a commercial 6/9/2010
Bryant defeats Davenport                                                                         Page 2 of 3

real estate firm, cited Davenport’s 40 years in the real-estate business and six years in the
  Bryant will face Republican nominee John Thurston of Bigelow in the Nov. 2 general election.
Thurston was unopposed for his party’s nomination.
  The secretary of state also is paid $54,305 a year to oversee a staff of about 150 people. The
duties of the office include helping counties with elections, maintaining a statewide voter-
registration system, caring for and providing security at the state Capitol and its grounds, and
maintaining some records of businesses.
  O’Brien will meet Republican Mark Martin of Prairie Grove in the Nov. 2 general election.
Martin was unopposed for his party’s nomination.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/JEFF MITCHELL
Pat O’Brien, Democratic candidate for secretary of state, and his mother, Gladys O’Brien, announce to
supporters Tuesday night in Little Rock that The Associated Press had declared him the runoff winner
against Mark Wilcox. 6/9/2010
Bryant defeats Davenport                                                                        Page 3 of 3

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/JEFF MITCHELL L.J. Bryant, Democratic candidate for land
commissioner, greets supporters Tuesday night in Little Rock after The Associated Press declared him the
runoff winner against Monty Davenport. 6/9/2010

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