FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansans are paying close attention to a few races in particular on the 2022 ballot.

University of Arkansas Political Science Professor Andrew Dowdle said it will be interesting to see how close the governor’s race turns out after Republican dominance over the past eight years. Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Democrat Chris Jones and Libertarian Ricky Dale Harrington, Jr. are running to be the state’s next governor.

“Jones has spent a lot of time visiting different parts of the state, a lot of campaign visits and the academic literature shows that that makes some difference,” Dowdle said.

Dowdle said if Democrat Chris Jones gets within 5%- 8% of Republican Sarah Sanders in election results, he will consider that a competitive race.

Dowdle said he doesn’t expect other statewide issues to be competitive, but he said statewide ballot issues, like legalizing recreational marijuana, could be much tighter.

“Kind of the nature of ballot initiatives that sometimes people end up changing their minds very dramatically, they’re very much affected by what you end up seeing in terms of advertising,” Dowdle said.

Dowdle said local ballot issues like increasing taxes to fund county jail expansions could also be tight, but he said it’s hard to predict because there’s no widespread polling on those issues.