Speaking of wreckage: Republican legislative majority makes big gains | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Speaking of wreckage: Republican legislative majority makes big gains

Posted By on Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 7:26 AM

I'm off to do TV, but one final thought on elections.

The Arkansas legislature is now solidly, irrevocably Republican. What were people like me thinking in believing Democrats were mounting a credible effort to reverse the 51-49 Republican majority?

The final tally isn't in, but it looks to me that the majority will rise by at least 13, to 64 Republicans. The Democrats didn't reverse a single GOP seat. Republicans ousted a number of Democratic incumbents. Republicans also added two more seats to their already big Senate majority, including the ouster of the Senate Democratic leader, Robert Thompson. Tea Party followers won those two races.

I think the private option renewal, much as all the insiders say Asa Hutchinson favors it, will be far trickier with fewer Democrats to add to the vote total. It passed the Senate last time with the precise number of votes needed. At least four seats will now be held by professed opponents of the private option. But Governor Hutchinson will have reason to try his powers of persuasion on them and others.

At last report, with all votes counted, but totals unofficial, Republicans picked up 13 seats. They beat Fonda Hawthorne, David Kizzia, John Catlett, Patti Julian, Homer Lenderman, Wes Wagner, Harold Copenhaver, Tommy Wren and Tommy Thompson. Four previous Democratic seats were converted that were not sought by incumbents — Nate Steel, Jim Nickels, Butch Wilkins and James McLean.

Two Democrats, incumbent James Ratliff and newcomer Camille Bennett, were ahead, but by only 49 and 69 votes, respectively.

In the Senate, the Republican gains came from Linda Collins-Smith defeat of James McLean for a seat previously held by a Democrat and the defeat of Thompson.

PS — Those great Democratic candidates in Benton County, the ones endorsed by the local Republican opposition over sketchy Republican opponents. They all got waxed. The worst defeat was suffered by the Walmart-supported former Bentonville council member, Leah Williams. In a county where statewide candidates wracked up 20,000-plus vote margins, it seems silly in retrospect to have harbored any hopes there. Hindsight is nearly always perfect.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (15)

Showing 1-15 of 15

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-15 of 15

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Judge Griffen: Why black lives matter

    Another few words from Judge Wendell Griffen growing from the controversy over the sale of Black Lives Matter T-shirts at the state black history museum — removed by the administration and restored after protests from Griffen and others stirred by a story in the Arkansas Times:
    • Mar 13, 2016
  • Among the last words from Kenneth Williams: 'Finger Lickin' Good Fried Chicken'

    What's purported to be a final-words essay from condemned prisoner Kenneth Williams was distributed today by Deborah Robinson, a freelance journalist in Arkansas.  He reflects on his execution, his victims, reactions of inmates and big servings of fried chicken, which he says are given to all inmates on execution days.
    • Apr 27, 2017
  • More on how highways were used to wipe out "blight" of non-white neighborhoods

    Vox, a news website that concerns itself with energy and other issues, has a fine piece, including before and after images, on the history of the U.S. interstate system and why roads were built through the middle of cities (unless people of influence stopped them — see Manhattan, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.)
    • Mar 22, 2016

Most Shared

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation