Consolidation backlash in vote?

(May 20, 2004) - (Little Rock-AP) -- Candidates from Tuesday's primary say state efforts to consolidate smaller school districts affected the vote. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Collins Kilgore says he thought some voters linked him to school consolidation. In a 2002 ruling, the state Supreme Court upheld a decision by Kilgore and declared Arkansas' public school system unconstitutional. Kilgore noted that his ruling did not say schools should consolidate. Kilgore narrowly made a runoff for an associate justice slot. He will fact top vote-getter Jim Gunter of Hope on November second. State Senator Brenda Gullett of Pine Bluff, a member of the Senate Education Committee, lost her seat to a House challenger who emphasized his opposition to school consolidation. In another Senate race, voters returned a leading consolidation opponent, Jimmy Jeffress, to office despite Governor Huckabee's support of Jeffress' primary challenger.