(See the previous posts about Fred Starr at these links: http://www.eclecticatbest.com/2011/05/fred-starr-ozark-folklorist-writer-and.html and http://www.eclecticatbest.com/2011/09/greenland-arkansas-in-late-1930s.html )
Arkansas was still a one-party state in 1954, and Starr ran as a Democrat. He had two opponents in the Democratic primary, whose rules required a candidate to get a majority vote, either in the first primary or in a run-off, to be the party's nominee. In the first primary election, Starr received the most votes of the three candidates, but not a majority. In the run-off, he faced David Burleson, a young Fayetteville lawyer. Burleson, a graduate of Fayetteville High School and the University of Arkansas, had been a pilot during WWII and had been recalled to service for the Korean War, retiring as a Lt. Colonel. Starr and Burleson were both popular candidates, and the result of the run-off election was close: Starr won with 4,080 votes, barely more than Burleson's 3,955 vote. (Burleson was elected to be a state representative in 1958 and held that office until 1967.) Starr had no Republican opposition in the general election held in November.
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In the same 1954 primary elections, Orval Faubus was elected to his first term as Arkansas' governor, upsetting incumbent governor Francis Cherry. Also, in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision on the Brown v Board of Education of Topeka Kansas case, mandating an end to segregated schools. These two events set the stage for some of the most dramatic and traumatic years in Arkansas' history, and Fred Starr was destined to play a role in the conflict as a member of Arkansas' legislature.
More than fifty-five years after Starr took office, it is difficult to reconstruct his legislative career to determine what legislation he supported and what he opposed. It is clear that he was not in a leadership position during the four years that he served. As a backbencher, his votes were rarely mentioned by newspapers. The Northwest Arkansas Times, the local paper for which he wrote "Hillside Adventures," provided sparse coverage of the state legislature during these years.
Starr Retires from the State Legislature
After serving his first term (1955-1956), Starr was elected to a second term in 1956 without opposition. He did not run for re-election in 1958.