GOP to hold 21-14 majority in Arkansas Senate

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Republicans will hold a 21-14 advantage in the Arkansas Senate next year after picking up a majority for the first time since Reconstruction.

The final Senate race was called Wednesday morning, with Democrat Eddie Cheatham defeating Republican Mike Akin for a Senate seat representing southeast Arkansas.

Complete but unofficial returns show Cheatham winning with 50.6% of the vote.

Arkansas was the last state in the old Confederacy to never have Republicans control a legislative chamber since the post-Civil War period.

Republicans made steady gains in recent years and closed to a 20-15 gap during a strong GOP showing nationally in 2010. The party will have increased clout when dealing with Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe, who has long enjoyed a high approval rating.

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