John Boozman sails to victory for third term in U.S. Senate

The Associated Press called the race for incumbent U.S. Sen. John Boozman shortly after the polls closed on Tuesday. (John Sykes/Arkansas Advocate)

Arkansas U.S. Sen. John Boozman won a third six-year term Tuesday, and if Republicans retake control, he is likely the next chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

The Associated Press declared him the winner over Democrat Natalie James and Libertarian Kenneth Cates shortly after the polls closed at 7:30 p.m. 

At 9:32 p.m., with 57% of the votes counted, AP reported:

  • Boozman — 357,858
  • James —       178,457
  • Cates —           16,352

Even if Republicans do not take control of the Senate, Boozman will still play a key role in negotiating the farm bill next year. The legislation includes much more than farming, and it typically involves bipartisan horse-trading to advance.

As chairman, the Arkansan would lead the work on writing the bill.

In August, he said his goal would be to get the legislation passed with more votes than the 2018 measure, which passed the Senate with 87 votes. 

But Boozman said he expects the farm bill’s path through Congress will be challenging, regardless of which party controls the Senate. High fertilizer, fuel and labor costs will complicate the process, he said.

“We’re in a very unusual time, a unique time that we haven’t seen in decades with high inflation,” Boozman said. “So when we write this farm bill, it’s going to be very different than the atmosphere when we wrote the last one.”

Also complicating matters is the Biden administration’s inclusion of huge spending on climate-related programs. Last month, the senator sent Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack a letter asking to support its rationale for proposed spending on climate-family food production projects.

“We have a storied history of working together at the Agriculture Committee… unfortunately with this decision the majority has changed that dynamic…they have undermined one of the last successful bipartisan processes remaining in the Senate,” Boozman said in a floor speech in August.


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Sonny Albarado, Arkansas Advocate
Sonny Albarado, Arkansas Advocate

In his 50-year career, Sonny Albarado has been an investigations editor, a business editor, a city editor, an environmental reporter and a government reporter at newspapers in Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana. Most recently, he retired from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette after serving as projects editor for 12 ½ years. He got his start in journalism as editor of the Nicholls Worth, the student newspaper at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La., where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 1973. Nicholls awarded him an honorary Doctor of Letters in 2014.

Jennifer Shutt
Jennifer Shutt

Jennifer covers the nation’s capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. Her coverage areas include congressional policy, politics and legal challenges with a focus on health care, unemployment, housing and aid to families.