by Max Brantley
My apologies for inactivity. I ended up spending more time at Channel 4 than planned. (The picture is LR Mayor Mark Stodola, in case you didn't know, see the new governor on my later post. Thanks to Times photog Brian Chilson, as always, for his usual energy and artistry.)
A Democratic tsunami in the House.
At this hour, an outside improving chance still at taking the U.S. Senate.
South Dakota said women need a right to abortion. Arizona said gay unions are OK.
A sweep of statewide constitutional officers in Arkansas. (Would it have hurt Gov. Mike Beebe or Lt. Gov. Bill Halter to thank Democrats for their help? Coalition-building is one thing, but this was a DEMOCRATIC night.) Go here for Ark. results.
The college bonds and charity bingo passed easily.
There was a return of incumbents to Congressional seats in Arkansas. A little-known, underfunded challenger held the Third District Republican, John Boozman, under 60 percent according to the last vote I saw. Thank the misbegotten war for that.
The Senate remains 27-8 Democratic. A strong Democratic candidate in Springdale, Lynn Carver, came within a few hundred votes of beating a reasonably sane Republican, Bill Pritchard. This was for wacko, eternal candidate Jim Holt's seat. He vowed tonight, by the way, to continue his Christian campaign of hate by mounting a popular drive to prevent gay people from being foster parents.
The state House: A real surprise. At last count, the Republicans looked like they could be losing three two seats in the House, perhaps moving Democrats to a rock-solid 75 votes in the House, but my math may be off here. Maybe Jason Willett is better than we thought. Democrats won these races that Republicans expected to win: Eddie Hawkins of Vilonia in District 47; Lance Reynolds of Quitman in 59; Joan Cash of Jonesboro in 75; Ray Kidd of Jonesboro in 76; Charlotte Wagner of Manila in 77. Heh heh, by the way -- Barry Hyde, the Dem, won the NLR House race, proving again that an unbridled overwhelming Democrat-Gazette endorsement is the kiss of death. Sorry, Chad Green.
Again, Mike Beebe. Why couldn't you thank Democrats for your victory? I know you had Republican votes and that was important. But there was a Democratic wave Tuesday night, here and everywhere. Acknowledge your roots, dammit.
In PULASKI COUNTY:
Mark Stodola won the Little Rock mayoral race without a runoff. The crime issue was a good one, as I wrote last week.
Doc Holladay beat the nut for sheriff.
Kathy Lewison, an earnest and hard-working Democrat from WLR, won a narrow re-election victory led a three-way race over another lavishly backed Dan Greenberg cutout for JP on the Quorum Court, Allen Kerr. Again the D-G endorsement was the kiss of death. Lewison would have won easily had not an independent candidate clouded the race by siphoning progressive votes. Sorry, Kate. A runoff looms.
LITTLE ROCK CITY BOARD
It is clearly time to change city government to ward elections. Mark Stodola's mayoral victory should help.
But the Board will change in ways that will be hard to predict, though in seats that generally vote in the minority. Two incumbents were ousted.
Erma Fingers Hendrix got "re-elected" (her signs urged her re-election after 14 years out of office) over incumbent Johnnie Pugh, who had stayed too long.
Doris Wright edged out incumbent Genevieve Stewart by maybe five votes. Recount? She's developer friendly, but many of them didn't get behind her this time because they thought Stewart had the district cold.
Ken Richardson took the seat vacated by Willie Hinton.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK
It approved a reallocation of some tax money to cushion coming electric rate shock a little bit.