NORTH ARKANSAS, Ark. (KNWA/FOX24) — It’s primary election season and many will have to check the newly drawn district maps to see where they will now be represented.

One of those new districts is State Senate District 28, which includes the western halves of Boone and Newton Counties, all of Carroll and Madison Counties, and the northern portions of Johnson and Franklin Counties. Click here to look at all of the state’s new election maps.

There are six people running for District 28. One is Democrat Jim Wallace. He is the only Democrat running for this seat, so he will automatically win his primary race. Click here to visit his campaign website and learn more about his platform.

On the Republican side, things will be contested with five candidates running in the primary. KNWA/FOX24 asked all five candidates about their platform, specifically about their stance on abortion rights and the Huntsville High School hazing incident.

A leaked draft from the Supreme Court shows Roe vs. Wade will most likely be overturned. Last March, Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a bill into law banning nearly all abortions in the state. The law only allows for abortions if it would save the life of the mother, and does not provide exemptions for rape or incest.

It would make performing or attempting to perform an abortion a felony, with up to 10 years in prison and up to $100,000 fine. It would go into effect immediately if Roe vs. Wade is overturned.

In Huntsville, many were shocked after a hazing incident involving the boys basketball team came to light. Some are now looking at the laws on the books and what could be changed to prevent it from happening again. Court documents say older members of the team hazed younger members through a ritual called baptizing where they stuck their genitals in the mouths and on the faces of other team members.

School employees are mandatory reporters. However, no charges are being brought against any Huntsville High School employees who didn’t report this to the Arkansas Child Abuse hotline. Prosecutor Matt Durrett said the situation doesn’t meet the standard of Arkansas law for abuse because they weren’t old enough, and it didn’t mean the standard for sexual abuse because there was no evidence of sexual gratification.

Here’s what each candidate wants you to know about themselves, and their stances on these two issues.

State Senator Bob Ballinger

Ballinger currently represents State Senate District 5, which has since been redrawn and renumbered as District 28. He said he’s proud of his large family of eight kids and three grand kids.

He said he has always run for political office with the purpose of saving babies, wanting to keep government small, and wanting to see money back in the pockets of people.

“People’s liberties are frankly under attack,” he said. “And sometimes it’s a well meaning government but they do mean to govern your lives and I believe that people can govern their lives better themselves.”

He is listed as a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 6 in the 2021 legislative session, this is the anti-abortion bill Gov. Hutchinson has since signed. He wants to make sure the state is prepared if the Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade.

“Once that option is off the table of terminating a pregnancy, from my standpoint killing a baby, we need to be ready and able to step up. There are a lot of resources out there,” he said. “Last session I worked with Representative Dotson on putting together resources and a hotline number that helps women who are are looking for help during pregnancy.”

Ballinger has faced some backlash from those he’s running against for referring to the Huntsville hazing situation as bullying, saying he’s downplaying what happened.

“My direct quote was it’s the worst kind of bullying,” he said. “I think it’s important to note that from what I understand, it wasn’t that they were motivated out of sexual gratification. They were motivated out of basically putting these kids through the worst kind of bullying, like torturing them.”

He wants to move forward with caution, thinking of the teachers at the school.

“While I want to make sure we find ways to protect those kids, I also don’t want to make it work,” he said. “The job of being a teacher is a harder job. So we’re just going to be careful about how we do it.”

Click here to learn more about Ballinger’s campaign.

Bryan King

Bryan King is a farmer who grew up in Carroll County. He’s held several hats over the years, including state representative, state senator and election commissioner. He said Bass Reeves is his idol for how he administered justice fairly and showed that the good guys can win.

He wants people to know that he will use his experience to always value fair elections and stand up against corruption.

“I know when there’s fraud and when there’s not and when there’s mistakes,” he said. “We’re going to have to get back to having trust and integrity in our system.”

He is running as a pro-life candidate, but wants to make sure those we bring into this world have a fair shot in life.

“The second biggest contributors to national debt are state legislators and governors,” he said. “So if that child is born, and you’re pro-life, and you’re sitting there just putting more debt on, and not trying to correct a corrupted system, and if you’re not stepping up and protecting the kids in Huntsville, the reality is you’re just pro-birth, because they should have a life that they grow up in that is fair and has equal justice.”

The Huntsville hazing incident is driving a lot of King’s criticism for his opponent, Bob Ballinger.

“It should have been immediately sent to the State Police. What happened was wrong and unfortunately the victims have not received justice in this,” he said. “It was not bullying as Bob Ballinger says, that is totally absurd and actually wrong, and to try and find some loophole in the law, they’re trying to get out of doing their job for the justice of victims.”

He said his experience is something people can trust.

“When Republicans talk about wasteful government and taking on corruption, the other ones haven’t and I have,” he said.

Click here to learn more about King’s campaign.

Bob Largent

Bob Largent was born in Springdale, is a University of Arkansas graduate and spent 24 years in the Air Force. After spending 25 years in private business as a consultant, he moved back to Harrison where he found his passion working to refocus and build the local chamber of commerce.

“The six counties in this new district really are centered on agriculture and tourism,” he said. “And what’s similar between agriculture and tourism and that’s going to be transportation and having good roads. You can’t be successful on either of those industries without good roads.”

He wants to focus on improving Highway 412, which is used by many major transporters. He also wants to look at our criminal justice system. He said it’s a waste of money to be paying for beds in other counties for people who are jailed in Madison County. He also has a strong stance on abortion.

“I am an exceptionally strong conservative and a Christian,” he said. “I believe Abortion is murder, period. I’ve scored 100% on the Arkansas Right to Life survey.”

In the Huntsville incident, hewants to see the laws on mandatory reporters changed so that they have more guidance and better understand their role in reporting what they see.

“This could have happened anywhere, it just happened to have occurred in Huntsville,” he said. “The law certainly, now that this has been brought to light, needs to be readjusted and tweaked to make sure that that mandatory reporters are clear in what they have to do.”

He said he’s ready to be part of a new chapter at the state capitol.

“I’m a quick learner and that’s going to be essential going to Little Rock now with a new governor, new administration and new legislature,” he said. “Having someone who can go down there and represent these six counties and be able to work with others, a collaborative approach to teamwork and team building, and always remembering who you work for and that’s the 87,000 constituents up here.”

Click here to learn more about Largent’s campaign.

State Rep. Keith Slape

State Rep. Keith Slape found himself in an interesting predicament when the new district maps were redrawn.

“It put me dead middle of the newly created Senate District 28 and in my new house district, I can step out my back door and I’m in another district. It moved me three and a half hours away from the other end of the district.”

Thanks to the new geography, he’s now running for Senate. He’s a former Newton County Sheriff and has served six terms in the House of Representatives. He wants to make sure people who commit dangerous crimes serve their full time, while we help those like people who are battling addiction stay out of the criminal justice system.

He also wants to bring a spirit of working together to the Senate.

“In the Senate, one thing I’d like to see change is to see some civility in politics,” he said. “We’ve gone into the extreme and now we can’t work with each other.”

He is pro-life, but said there may be situations that should be taken into consideration.

“To use abortion as population control, I don’t agree with that,” he said. “But incest and rape we have to look at, as well as the well being of the mother. Those are the only three times I can justify abortion at all. Our Creator has given us blessings to live and I think we need to hold that, but I can’t just say never ever have an abortion because I don’t know all the things going around each situation.”

When it comes to the Huntsville situation, he believes there needs to be some consequences.

“Back in my day, if I would have been the one doing that, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here after my father got a hold of me,” he said . “There needs to be some consequences so those actions don’t go on anymore. It’s a very sad situation and yes there’s ways to strengthen (the law), it all has to be some language changes inside the state statute.”

He said it will be an exciting time to be entering the Senate.

“There will be some new ideas and we just want to get it where Arkansas is number one, not just in football, baseball, basketball and softball, but as a number one leader in this nation,” he said.

Click here to learn more about Slape’s campaign.

Theodore Walker

Theodore “Ted” Walker is a Kingston High School graduate. He said he comes from a broken and violent home, which he got out of by joining the Arkansas National Guard. He worked his way through college at the Butterball Turkey Plant. Now he has a blended family with six kids and now grandkids.

“To me, empathy is probably the strongest attribute of leadership and the most unspoken.”

He said he’s seen grandkids of his stillborn, so he has a strong stance when it comes to abortion.

“To abort a baby for rape? So you’re going to kill somebody because somebody else did something wrong? That doesn’t make any sense to me,” he said. “You’re holding the baby responsible for the actions of somebody else and that’s not fair. And that could be with incest or anything else. God’s got a plan and he’s in control.”

When it comes to the Huntsville incident, he said it hit home for him. He said he was molested by his father’s best friend as a child.

“Fifty-six years old, that stuff doesn’t go away because I can tell you the color of the house, the color of the rose bushes, where the oak tree was to me, I can tell you everything.”

He wants to see the laws clear on what sexual harassment is.

“Do we have to define what sexual harassment is? Do we not just understand that if you pull your stuff out and hit somebody in the face with it, that that’s not bullying, that’s sexual harassment?” he said. “I’ve got grandkids in that school. I don’t want them feeling like they’re at risk and nobody’s going to say anything.”

He said he never aspired to be a politician, but he wants to see change in the state of Arkansas.

“What’s the next four years going to be? Voters are going to decide on the 24th if you’ll be riding a horse that can’t finish the race, or you’re riding the horse that didn’t want to run the race the way the horse is supposed to be run, so then you need to put a new horse in there.”

Click here to learn more about Walker’s campaign.

Primary Election Day is May 24th. Early voting will be Monday through Saturday up until the 23rd. Click here to learn more about early voting near you.