Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Primary Surprises, Not Surprises

 A good summary of the Arkansas 2022 Primary Election Results can be found here

Insurgent candidates for state-wide offices and congressional seats were thrashed. I've been telling my friends for years that you don't take on the establishment choice in the primary of that party. Not for big offices where you are not personally known by many of the voters. Try running as an independent or start a new party. Then you have all the way to November to get your message out and you are not after a group of primary voters that your opponent is going to have Orwellian level data collection on. 

If you don't have the money they have, at least you both have the same amount of time. When time is in short supply, money is going to be even more dominant. They've never listened. And the results yesterday were quite similar to what they have been for the last twenty years....insurgents get thrashed. Even the ones who are good candidates. 

Doc Washburn didn't even get 20 percent for Governor on the Republican side. Chris Jones dominated on the Democrat side. Jan Morgan did about the same for U.S. Senate. Conrad Reynolds was in my mind a more serious candiate than Morgan, and did better against Congressman French Hill, but still only got 41%  of the vote. Party people are often herd people and they tend to go which way the herd goes. Outsider campaings only work if you are a billionaire who is aleady a household name with basically your own media and you are better than the news anchors at working that media. IOW, Donald Trump is an anomoly. 

Boozman won big. The Democrats passed on former Independent Dan Whitfield to elect Natalie James. There was no real Democrat establishment candidate in that race as the big money interests who run the DPA (and the RPA) are fine with Boozman and are going to let Ms. James twist in the wind with no support this November. I don't think Whitfield would have beat Boozman either, but he would have made the race a lot more fun. 

The only close aspect in the state-wide offices was that Leslie Rutledge managed to avoid a run-off in a six way race - which is pretty impressive when you think about it. She may have also ended a couple of political careers that needed to be ended with their poor performances, though I look for Washington County Judge Joseph Wood to have a future for local offices. 

The State Senate level and below is where insurgent campaigns can under some circumstances have a chance, because at that level people are more likely to vote on personal knowledge of the candidate or their family and less likely to take cues from party brass. Add to that ...this cycle gave us re-drawn district lines so that some incumbents were put in disadvantaged situation compared to the norm. If there is ever a time to make insurgency work, it is after redistricting. 

In District 3 Alderman Steve Crowell beat Senator Charles Beckham. In district six, JP Matt McKee unseated establishment Republican Senator Bill Sample. In Senate district 22 on the Republican side, establishment tool James Sturch finds himself six points behind and in a runoff facing State Rep. John Payton. 

State Senate District 28 is of the most interest to me- Incumbent Bob Ballinger drew four primary opponents and a Democrat opponent in November, due in large part to a serious of dubious ties and scandals, along with a general failure to do his job well. One of them is the man he unseated four years ago, the top vote-getter Bryan King. Back when we were voting "Ten Best" and "Ten Worst" legislators, Bryan King nabbed the top spot after being rated #2 twice. Ballinger made the top ten once himself, before his substance had time to put perspective on his talk. King isn't a corpoprate sock-puppet and he isn't a reactionary demogogue. So I'm wondering if a guy like that still has a place in today's GOP. We will see in a few short weeks. 

District 35 will also have a run-off but there was no incumbent there. Tyler Dees faces Rep. Gayla Hendren-McKenzie. If a Hendren loses up there, it could be the start of the end of a dynasty. 

There are 100 house seats in Arkansas. Only seven will have run-off elections. And that's weighted to the Republican side. The Democrat party in this state is woefully under-competitive. So is the Republican side in my opinion, but that's what happens when the establishment tips the scales too often. Outsiders start getting smart and quit signing up for an unfair fight. 

Karen Baker held her seat against a challenge from Gunner Delay. We may need a recount for the court of appeals race between Wendy Wood and Stephanie Cassidy. With judges, it is true we elect them, but by law they can't tell us much about what kind of judge they would be, so the elections we have in my mind are not as legitimate example of public expression as other office.....or at least they wouldn't be if the two establishment parties didn't have a near choke-hold on ballot access. 


Post a Comment

<< Home