Fayetteville’s Denise Garner announces reelection bid

Denise Garner / Courtesy photo

Rep. Denise Garner, D-Fayetteville, will seek another term, she announced this week.

Garner, 64, was first elected to House District 84 in 2018. She was reelected in 2020.

If successful, her new district would be the newly redrawn House District 20. The Arkansas Board of Apportionment unveiled the proposed new state house districts on Oct. 29. The new district is smaller than District 84, and primarily covers north and east Fayetteville, extending from Sam’s Club to Habberton Road. Garner will no longer represent Greenland, Elkins, West Fork, and Prairie Grove under the new proposed map.

Garner said while she’s disappointed to lose key areas of her old district, she knew the boundaries were likely to change due to the significantly increased population.

“We are exactly one year away from the 2022 election and I truly enjoy being a state representative, listening to the concerns of my constituents and proposing sensible legislation,” said Garner in an announcement. “I’ve decided to announce my intention to run for re-election in my new house district because we proved last session how important it is to have moderate and pragmatic voices bridging the political divide. We simply need more legislators willing to listen to their constituents rather than lobbyists or other single-issue campaigns.”

Garner defeated the four-term Republican incumbent Charlie Collins to secure her first term in the House. Collins had sponsored legislation allowing guns on state college campuses, and while Garner is a gun owner, she said her campaign was focused on listening to constituents and proposing “sensible gun legislation” like universal background checks.

She faced no opposition in 2020.

At the start of the 92nd General Assembly, Garner was elected co-chair of the Freshmen Caucus, and last session, she served as vice-chair of two committees and served on the Revenue and Taxation Committee.

“For over 40 years, I’ve been deeply involved in our communities here in Washington County and across Arkansas through various nonprofit organizations, small businesses, and my personal commitment to making our state a better place to live for all families,” said Garner. “The 2021 legislative session proved we need to avoid partisan extremism and elect leaders with empathy, integrity, and a desire to help others.”

House members run for two-year terms.

Candidate filing for the May 24 primaries begins Feb. 22 and ends March 1.