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Sen. James Sturch – Concerns about Character

The past is a good indicator of the future. When examining the record of James Sturch as a legislator five issues stood out as a caution warning to voters.

  1. Truthfulness?
  2. Ethics?
  3. Representing all of the district?
  4. Taking a stand?
  5. Keeping Republican promises?


This campaign season Senator Sturch sent a campaign mailer saying he “Passed legislation to ban-critical race theory and other divisive curriculum from public schools.” It was an outright lie. Not only did the legislature not ban CRT from public schools, he voted against such a ban. By voting with the Democrats in the Senate Education Committee he was the deciding vote to kill HB1761 which would have prohibited instructional materials teaching:

  • That any race or ethnicity is superior to any other race or ethnicity;
  • That any individual from a particular race or ethnicity is inherently racist;
  • That any race or ethnicity should feel guilt or shame because of their race or ethnicity;
  • That the United States, as a nation, is systemically racist; or
  • The promotion of prejudice or discrimination toward any race or ethnicity.

Do you see anything on that list you would want our schools to teach? Sturch voted against the ban and then lied about it thinking no one would discover his committee vote.

And speaking of truthfulness, Sturch has been claiming he has “A Proven Record on LOWERING TAXES by over $330,000,000 a year.” This is a huge deception by omission. He omits the fact that as a legislator he has been busy taking back the tax relief from Arkansans by voting for many TAX INCREASES.

See: False And Deceptive Claims – Sen. James Sturch; Sen. Sturch Falsehood Worse Than We Realized; Sen. Sturch Continues Deception About Fighting Critical Race Theory; and Is Your Candidate Using the STURCH Deception on Taxes?


Soon after James Sturch became a legislator, he said he was working for a holding and property management business. It just happened that his employer was a registered lobbyist who would be lobbying him in the legislature and the business location was the same address of the lobbyist’s lobbying business. The address was in DeQueen about 230 miles from his home and about 144 miles from the state Capitol.

Why didn’t he see the arrangement as being an ethical problem? As word got out, his next financial statement showed no employment other than his position as a legislator.

See: Working For A Lobbyist While Being a Legislator?

Representing All Of Your District?

When people elect a State Senator or Representative, they expect him or her to work for the whole district. They certainly don’t expect their legislator to work against one part of the district. But that is exactly what Senator James Sturch did when he was in the House of Representatives. He picked sides to help a politician in Batesville block his own hometown of Southside from expanding. Soon after Southside became a city, additional areas wanted to be annexed to the new city. A politician in Batesville had his eyes on the same areas and wanted to block Southside. So, he got James Sturch to introduce legislation to block the people from joining Southside.  Sturch introduced the legislation which was intended to keep Southside (and similar cities) from annexing more than 10% of its current area which would have effectively stopped the surrounding areas from joining Southside. Sturch got the legislation passed in the House of Representatives but when Senators realized what it would do, they blocked the legislation. Eventually Sturch withdrew the bill from the Senate.

Sturch had stabbed part of this district in the back but two things kept his action from being a disaster for his political career. 1. The legislation didn’t pass. 2. He switched to running for the Senate which has a much larger district where fewer people knew about how he had worked against part of his district.

See: HB1567 of 2015; and Rep. James Sturch tried to sabotage his hometown

Taking a Stand?

Voters expect their legislators to take a stand on the issues. But with James Sturch we found out that some legislators can flip their positions in a span no longer than it takes to look at their phone for instructions.

There was a bill to stop local governments from abusing special elections to pass taxes. They use special elections because they know taxes are easier to pass when only a few people come to vote like in special elections. The bill had passed one house and appeared to pass in the other by two votes. Sturch had voted for the bill but the vote was challenged which means the “Yes” votes had to be in their seats. It was quickly discovered that one legislator who had voted as “Yes” was not in the chamber. That meant James Sturch’s vote would be the deciding vote. He looked at something on his phone and scurried out of the chamber just before his name was called. With Sturch running away the bill failed.

Many assume that on the phone he had received instruction to get out of the chamber and kill the bill he had just voted “For.”

Sturch’s embarrassing action became known as the “Sturch lurch.”

See: How Rep. James Sturch Killed Special Election Reform by Walking Out

Keeping Republican Promises?

Senator Sturch’s voting record on conservative issues was so bad that both the Independence County Republican Committee and the Izard County Republican Committee took the unusual step of declaring Sturch “Not a recommended candidate.

See: Chair of Izard Co. Republican Committee Speaks Out on Vote to Not Recommend Candidate


Senator James Sturch and Representative John Payton are in a runoff election for the Republican nomination as Senator from District 22. The runoff election is Tuesday June 21st. Early voting begins Tuesday June 14th.

We prepared a side-by-side list showing how Sturch and Payton voted on many important issues. Payton by far was the candidate who represents conservative and Republican values. See: Payton v Sturch runoff – Comparing their records

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