A racial difference in Little Rock voting for mayor, 2nd District Congress | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

A racial difference in Little Rock voting for mayor, 2nd District Congress

Posted By on Wed, Nov 7, 2018 at 8:09 AM

click to enlarge CELEBRATING: Ticket leader Frank Scott Jr. shakes a hand. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • CELEBRATING: Ticket leader Frank Scott Jr. shakes a hand.
Frank Scott Jr., who led the ticket, and Baker Kurrus are heading to a runoff Dec. 4 for Little Rock mayor and I think racial voting patterns could prove important in the outcome. Scott, who is black, will need to improve on his election night showing in black precincts. It happened that his votes there trailed the votes for Democrat Clarke Tucker for 2nd District Congress.
click to enlarge MAKES RUNOFF: Baker Kurrus. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • MAKES RUNOFF: Baker Kurrus.
Here's the final mayoral vote:

click to enlarge screen_shot_2018-11-07_at_7.36.29_am.png

I've done some checking on precinct totals and they were interesting.

For example, look at Precinct 119, Greater Archiview Baptist Church, one of the biggest boxes in a predominantly black part of the city. The vote for mayor there wasn't wholly identifiable by race, as is often the case in Little Rock:

screen_shot_2018-11-07_at_7.45.08_am.png

Here's another, Precinct 120 in Oak Forest at the Little Rock Adult Education Center. A good vote for Scott, but again Kurrus and Sabin had supporters.

click to enlarge screen_shot_2018-11-07_at_7.47.09_am.png

At St. Mark Baptist Church, Precinct 115, it went this way:

click to enlarge screen_shot_2018-11-07_at_7.53.02_am.png

By contrast, consider the race for 2nd District Congress. In a pattern replicated elsewhere, Democrat Clarke Tucker led voting in Precinct 119 by 796-53, or 92 percent of the vote, against French Hill. So much for the celebrity black endorsements Hill claimed. So much for that poll that claimed he was getting 33 percent of the black vote. Alas, for Tucker, his 27,500-vote margin in Pulaski County wasn't enough to overcome a 43,000-vote margin in favor of Hill in the surrounding counties of the 2nd District. Hill won the 2nd with 52 percent of the vote, 131,712 to 115,564.

In Precinct 120, if you're counting, Tucker had 90 percent of the vote, 698-59. At 115, Tucker had 90 percent of the vote, 801-76.

Tucker, by the way, soundly defeated Hill with 55 percent of the vote at the Heights Fire Station, where both the candidates vote.

Will Kurrus and Scott continue generally positive campaigns or will they endeavor to illustrate some differences? And will Warwick Sabin, who finished a close third, throw his support to one of the candidates? If he does, I'd be inclined to guess Scott, a younger candidate who endeavored to present himself as a change agent though he's a banker, a former Highway Commissioner and wholly in line with the Chamber of Commerce on the Interstate 30 concrete gulch project. Kurrus, too, has declined to criticize the widening of I-30.

A possible big issue: The police department. A new chief will be chosen by the city manager, who owes his job to the mayor. The Fraternal Order of Police a retrograde organization controlled by the majority-white, majority-suburban-living part of LRPD endorsed Kurrus. Scott has called explicitly for an independent review of recent investigative reporting by Radley Balko of the Washington Post that raises questions about police tacts in drug raids, in use of force, in policing of misconduct and other issues. Kurrus has said the department has an internal review process already. History tells us it is wholly inadequate to maintaining a quality police force and rooting out bad actors. He'll have to do better than that with the significant contingent of LRPD critics.

PS: The Arkansas Times sought rights to reprint the Balko work. The Washington Post told us we could not because the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is a subscriber to their news service and has indicated it intends to use the work. If so, the added exposure might pressure city officials to finally give a damn about the damaging findings.

Kurrus enjoys Republican support, more important in the first round of voting than in the runoff. See Pulaski County election results. Democrats carried every partisan race by a wide margin, even little known Democrats with scant money. On the other hand, Scott had some significant Republican money as well, with an important infusion of cash from the Rockefeller family, for whom Kurrus once worked.

Interesting days ahead.

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