Big night for Arkansas Republicans
Now, Republicans dominate the state’s congressional delegation.
Here’s how it went down:
* In a hotly contested Senate race, Republican John Boozman defeated Democrat Blanche Lincoln. The final vote hasn’t been tallied yet, but that race was called in Boozman’s favor as soon as the polls closed.
Lincoln, the incumbent senator, angered Arkansas voters with her support of health care reform. The voters responded as expected, leaving Boozman as the first Republican senator from Arkansas since Tim Hutchinson embarrassed himself out of office in 2002.
Hutchinson was replaced by Democrat Mark Pryor in that election. Pryor, by the way, isn’t up for reelection until 2014. He should consider himself lucky.
Lincoln has held her Senate seat since 1993. Voters here in Saline County overwhelmingly supported Boozman by a vote of 23,165 to 9,935.
* Boozman was the sole Republican in Arkansas’ congressional delegation. He left his seat in the Third District to run for Senate, prompting a bunch of Republicans and one Democrat to announce they wanted to replace Boozman. Rogers Mayor Steve Womack won the Republican primary and faced Democrat David Whittaker.
Womack won easily in the historically Republican district according to early returns. Boozman has held that seat since 2001.
* In District 1, Republican Rick Crawford defeated Democrat Chad Causey. The election was more than a bit of a surprise as Democrats have cruised to victory after victory in that district.
Crawford will replace the outgoing Democrat Congressman Marion Berry, who announced earlier this year that he would not seek reelection. He’s held that seat since 1997.
* Berry wasn’t the only Democrat who decided not to run for reelection. Vic Snyder, who has represented the Second District since 1997, also decided to step down.
Republican Tim Griffin won a primary battle for that seat and faced Democrat Joyce Elliott. Griffin won the election in the traditionally Democrat district.
In Saline County, Griffin received 24,678 votes and Elliott got 8,301.
* Incumbent Mike Ross, a Democrat representing the Fourth District, survived a challenge from Republican Beth Anne Rankin. It’s worth mentioning that Ross spent a lot of time distancing himself from the more liberal elements of the Democratic party. That strategy appears to have worked.
So, there we have it. Arkansas went from a state that had two Democratic senators, three Democratic congressman and one loan Republican congressman to a state that is represented by four Republicans and two Democrats in Washington. It was an historic day, indeed.
Of course, those weren’t the only elections going on Tuesday. You can find a breakdown of state, county and city elections here on KATV’s site. At this time, some of those races are still close, but I’ll go ahead and list a few of them (as for those “too close to call races,” those are pretty well over at this point and you can read about them here).
* Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe easily defeated Republican challenger Jim Keet. In Saline County, Beebe received 20,283 votes and Keet got 13,858. Democrat Attorney General Dustin McDaniel defeated Green Party candidate Rebekah Kennedy while Democrat Charlie Daniels won the state auditor race against the Green Party’s Mary Hughes-Willis. Democrat State Treasurer Martha Shoffner defended her office against Green Party candidate Bobby Tullis.
While votes in some parts of the state haven’t been counted, that’s not the case here in Saline County. Yes, votes from all 34 precincts have been counted and the unofficial totals from Saline County are available here.
Go have a look to see how those votes fell in Saline County. Of course, I can’t help but mention a few highlights:
* For the District 22 Senate seat, Republican Jeremy Hutchinson beat Democrat Dawn Creekmore.
* Republican Jason Rapert defeated Democrat incumbent Representative Johnny Hoyt for the District 18 Senate seat.
* In the race for the House District 27, Republican Andy Mayberry defeated Democrat Vicky Morris.
* In the District 31 House race, Republican David J. Sanders beat Democrat Debbie Murphy.
* In the Distrct 38 House race, Republican Kim Hammer defeated Democrat incumbent Barbara Nix. Evidently, Nix’s strategy of putting up a campaign sign about every five feet failed.
* Democrat Sheriff Bruce Pennington defeated Republican E.J. Harris.
* Democrat Circuit Clerk Doug Kidd was defeated by Republican challenger Dennis Milligan.
* Benton Mayor Rick Holland failed to get 50 percent of the vote, forcing a runoff with the next closest challenger — David Mattingly.
* Bryant Mayor Larry Mitchell lost to challenger Jill Dabbs.
On a somewhat unrelated note, Democrat Carolyn Staley ran against Republican incumbent Alan Kerr in House District 32 up in Little Rock. She lost, but she left us with this campaign jingle (thanks to Shelli Russell for pointing out this pile of awesomeness to me).
Meanwhile, the oddest campaign story of the week has to be this one (by the way, the Les Cossey mentioned in that story won his reelection bid).
It was quite an evening, folks. We’ll have some more election results when we get final numbers (and I get time to post them — UPDATE: I found the time and the results are here) and expect to see some interviews with the winners in the weeks to come.
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.