Bifurcated primaries | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bifurcated primaries

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2008 at 9:30 AM

Can we agree -- except for Sen. Tracy Steele, who doggedly defended his bad idea to move the presidential primary in the D-G this morning -- that splitting the Arkansas primary was a disaster? We got no bang from the February presidential primary (and probably wouldn't have under any circumstances, given our relative unimportance in the national firmament) and the fallout was a record low turnout in the state primaries Tuesday.

I don't think a unified primary -- and the likelihood of greater black voting had Obama been on the ticket this week -- would have saved Appeals Court Judge Wendell Griffen, though there was indeed racially polarized voting in that race and black turnout was exceedingly low.

But here's an interesting one to consider -- the race for state Senate between Sen. Irma Hunter Brown and Joyce Elliott, both black candidates. Elliott turned out the incumbent 3,080 to 2,186, or by 794 894 votes.  But look at the precinct returns, where 469 votes of her margin came from a single, overwhelmingly white voting precinct at Pulaski Heights Presbyterian.  Brown carried a couple of heavily black precincts, but they turned out far fewer voters than normal. Elliott ran strongly enough in black neighborhoods that she likely would have won anyway, but it's still food for thought.

More black votes wouldn't have hurt Curtis Keith, who upset JP Annette McCaleb, 593-578, in a race for Quorum Court, but it probably would have widened his margin, which also rested on racially polarized voting. Keith, who is black, ran stronger in areas with significant black voter populations and McCaleb won predominantly white neighborhoods. See the tables on the jump.

 

STATE SENATE 33

Polling place                  Brown    Elliott

80 - Otter Creek                 153   288
81 - LR Sta #18                   26     48
82 - Mabelvale UMC           88    79
83 - David 0 Dodd             127   182
84 - Green Memorial          217   215
86 - Bess Chisum                  65    34
98 - Second Bapt                  88   141
99 - St Luke UMC                57   129
100 - Rosedale                      46    65
101 - Western Hills UMC      80   157
102 - Meadowcliff                 64    91
103 - St Theresa Cath          131   148
104 - Temple Restor             111   157
105 - Parkview                     101   127
109/112 - Pulaski Heights      110   579
115 - Franklin                       130   128
116 - Greater Pentecostal      104   109
119 - Greater Archview         233   155
120 - LR Adult Ed                126    94
121 - Geyer Springs UMC       78    95
123 - Southwest Comm            51    59

JP DISTRICT 8

Polling Place                    Keith     McCaleb

103 - St Theresa Cath            176    95
104 - Temple Restor              171    83
105 - Parkview                      110   107
125 - Baseline Elem                  70    94
126 - Ironton Bapt                    14    49
127 - Arch St Fire                     34   115
132 - New Haven                     17    28
133 - Wrightsville City                1     7

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