by Max Brantley
-- Brian Chilson
A brief recap of some the races of interest to me that I mentioned yesterday morning:
* U.S. Senate: Subtract Pulaski, Washington and Benton county votes and Bill Halter led the Democratic ticket. To generalize, he scored strongly in rural areas, carrying a number of counties in, for example, the 4th District. I don't think this was, despite what the national press would have you believe, a liberal uprising. (Do you, Mike Ross?) The vote was anti-Blanche and, I also believe, a product of some mischief. Republican-leaning voters in the 4th had nothing down ballot to vote on save a largely meaningless Republican congressional primary. Do they come back for the primary? Do D.C. Morrison voters really switch to the man with the union label? That's why they have elections. But Lincoln's total in the low 40s is traditionally a kiss of death in runoffs for an incumbent.
* 2nd District Democratic: I was wrong about the level of support for Joyce Elliott in Pulaski County. Absent a fierce turnout in surrounding counties and given the political outlooks of the candidates who finished down the ballot, I'd say Rep. Robbie Wills has an uphill climb to overcome Elliott in the runoff. Republican Tim Griffin is licking his lips.
* 1st District Democratic: Tim Wooldridge led the ticket, but with votes well under 40 percent. Rep. Marion Berry's hand-picked successor, Chad Causey, will be in the runoff. It's hard to imagine many of the voters for David Cook and Steve Bryles, other top finishers, as backers of Wooldridge's brand of theocratic politics. The runoff will test Rep. Marion Berry's popularity. His anti-Obama votes this year probably were calculated in part to save some of that, for himself and his former aide.
* 3rd District Republican: It looks like Cecile Bledsoe will edge out Gunner DeLay for the runoff spot with Steve Womack. It's a pity, for loss of sheer political entertainment.
* Constitutional offices: It will be Monty Davenport and L.J. Bryant in a runoff for land commissioner and Pat O'Brien and Mark Wilcox in a runoff for secretary of state. Davenport, an old pol offers a record and testimonials from many worthy backers. Bryant, 23, offers youth, change and some tall talk about advancement in an obscure office. Wilcox hopes to play musical chairs from land commissioner. O'Brien promises to do for the secretary of state's office what he did for Pulaski County. That's good in the case of voting records. Not so good in the case of circuit court records.
Much more to chew over, but I'm happy to note that Greg Leding beat the chamber of commerce candidate, handily, to win the Democratic House nomination in Fayetteville, still a holdout against the red tide.
It would appear Dawn Creekmore will face Jeremy Hutchinson for Shane Broadway's old Senate seat, Dan Greenberg's self-funded campaign having fallen short against Hutchinson. In terms of political functionality, it hardly matters which one wins in November.