LATE NIGHT UPDATE BEFORE A RECAPITULATION OF OUR LIVE BLOGGING FROM THE EVENING:
Bill Halter will take the Dem. runoff for lt. gov. Will vanquished opponent Tim Wooldridge remain a Dem. and support Halter or let his true Republicanism show? (He says on TV that he's for Halter and a tip of the hat to Tim for his magnanimity.) Martha Shoffner will win the race for treasurer and easily vanquish the nobody Republican who awaits.
Attorney general, Democratic primary? Most interesting. Paul Suskie piled up nearly a 10,000-vote margin in Pulaski County, but, at 10:17 p.m., votes flooded in from Craighead County, Dustin McDaniel's home, and gave him a few hundred-vote edge. Critical votes remained in Greene County, which is McDaniel territory, and Saline County, where primary loser Robert Herzfeld backed Suskie and where Suskie should lead the ticket. Also Lonoke, which trended Suskie. Will those votes knock McDaniel off? That is the night's final question. (Note: nobody took us up on sporting wagers earlier in the evening, as recorded below.)
AND WE SWEAR THIS IS OUR FINAL UPDATE: Our quick review of precincts outstanding county-by-county, against voting trends in those counites, suggests this conclusion: MCDANIEL WINS. Thus his smiling photo. Don't call us during the night if it turns out otherwise. We can wait until morning. And you can run this as a Dewey-beats-Truman artifact.
What does it mean? Voters are unpredictable. Halter bought the lt. gov. race. A county courthouse candidate, Shoffner, used old-school connections and gender to beat a bright young comer for treasurer. (Blanche Lincoln connections were no help there.) McDaniel, the more liberal Dem, won with a more liberal Democratic electorate, but only barely. No slates here. Voters made individual decisions, right or wrong. That's good.
OTHER ELECTION NOTES: Dan Greenberg, the Republican we endorsed in the runoff for a Republican primary race for House in WLR (a race with no Dem. candidate), trailed badly in Pulaski County. Precincts in the Hot Springs Village area in Saline County were outstanding when we checked out, so the race with Kurt Hetherington was in doubt. But Dan had a lot of ground to make up.
Good night all. And here's what we wrote earlier:
7:43 pm. -- Let's do it here.
8:09 -- Dome Rat posts Pulaski's early vote. If Suskie has that big a margin, he may take it. Same for Halter. We'll see.
Shoffner costs in Pulaski. Greenberg looks like a winner in state House race.
8:20 -- With 10 percent of Pulaski precincts in, Suskie still has 75-25 margin. Hard to see how that can be surmounted in balance of state. But we're prepared to eat those words.
8:25 -- AP has Halter 55-45. Sounds plausible. This is a victory, if it occurs, that very few Dems are perfectly happy about.
8:28 -- Noted: In Pulaski County, where McDaniel is otherwise getting drummed, he's running strong in some black precincts. He carried College Station, for example.
8:40 -- Say again: McDaniel in trouble. AP gives him 400-vote lead with about an eighth of the vote in. But Pulaski County has a huge number of precincts outstanding and if the early trend holds, Suskie takes a winning margin out of the state's biggest county. But that's just guessing at this point.
DECISION TIME: I bet a double latte at Boulevard, plus a scone, that it's Halter, Suskie and Shoffner in the statewide Democratic runoffs. First taker to the contrary, with correct contrary outcome, wins. But you have to give me a real e-mail address to collect. Next question: Does Wooldridge remain a Democrat and support Halter? He never would answer my question on this, though he once indicated he was going to call.
8:45 -- Yes, McDaniel is running 68-32 or so with 10 percent of the vote counted in home Craighead County. But bodies count. Against Sukie's 75-25 in Pulaski, if Suskie survives liberal precincts, it takes him out of the two-county matchup with maybe a 3,000-vote margin statewide. That could do it. But ... that could be wrong. This one is the fun one of the night.
9:11 -- OK, this really could be fun. AP has Suskie up by just about his current margin in Pulaski, where maybe one fifth of the vote has been counted. But 90 percent of the vote is out in Craighead and no votes are counted in Greene in this tally and those votes will go strongly for Suskie. Could it come down to Pulaski v. the Jonesboro metro area? And what about Washington?
9:30 -- Oops. Half of Pulaski is in. And Suskie has a 5,000 vote margin. But AP totals still indicate only 10 percent of the vote is counted in Craighead and none in Greene. If this is accurate, McDaniel may yet squeeze it out courtesy of his home counties. Ain't elections fun? (Not if you're a candidate.)
9:39 -- Pulaski is nearing a final tally, giving Suskie a margin near 9,000 votes. (He only ran 56-44 in Pulaski Heights, against 75- to 80-percent elsewhere.) Is that enough, with Craigheand and Greene being held back -- to give the NE candidates the victory in a darmatic late finish? Won't be enough for Wooldridge. He's toast. Will he remain a good Democrat?
9:44 -- Hmmm. Two-thirds of the vote in statewide. Suskie up by 1,300. That AP figure doesn't count another 3,000 votes or so in margin in Pulaski. But it also counts almost no votes in Craighead and Greene. Are there 5,000 votes there for McDaniel?
POLLING NOTE: Channel 11's Survey USA work, often derided by partisans, appears to have nailed the lt. gov. race and clearly will be in margin of error on a.g. race. So, is it only Rasmussen now, which shows Beebe with a continuing lead on Asa!, that is unreliable?
9:58 --Pulaski County vote is complete. Suskie finishes about 9,700 votes ahead. Add that to current AP totals and he's about 3,300 ahead statewide, with 20 of 22 precincts missing in Craighead and about three-fourths of the vote missing in Greene. Does Dustin (Boss Dailey/Marion) pull 3,300 votes on home turf? Can I stay up long enough to find out? These are both good questions.