“The Reddest Blue State”

The Southern Political Report examines Arkansas, “the reddest blue state” after Election ’08, and scratches its head at the weirdness:

In some respects Arkansas represents a rare success story for the Republicans this year. The home of former President Bill Clinton gave the Republican field a surprisingly competitive presidential contender in former Gov. Mike Huckabee, and last week, Arkansas became, in (John) Brummett’s words, the “buckle on the anti-Barack belt.” No state had more counties vote more Republican than they did in the 2004 presidential election. Bush won the state by nine points in 2004; McCain won it by 20 last week.

Down the ballot, however, the red turns quickly to blue.

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28 thoughts on ““The Reddest Blue State”

  • November 14, 2008 at 7:36 am
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    Wow, that’s strange. I wonder if it has to do with race? I hope not!

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  • November 14, 2008 at 9:33 am
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    It may have to do with the fact that at the National level the people of AR see a difference in the two parties, but at the state level they are the same.

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  • November 14, 2008 at 9:34 am
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    That story is filled with errors. The R’s did not pick up 4 seats, they picked up 3. One went Green.

    The split is 71-28-1 not 61-39.

    And this is the first cycle since 1998 (I think) that the D’s havent picked up seats.

    Good thing you have sharp eyed readers like us!

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  • November 14, 2008 at 9:39 am
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    It’s about time you started earning your keep around here, Br549.
    D.

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  • November 14, 2008 at 9:43 am
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    Well, it’s the opening week of deer season. I’ve been on the deer stand for a while.

    Ill try to do better.

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  • November 14, 2008 at 11:35 am
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    BR549,

    Republicans gained seats in the State House and Senate in 2000. They held steady in 2002 at 30 members and 8 members respectively. In 2004 Republicans lost 2 State House seats and kept all 8 Senates seats. In 2006 Republicans lost 3 House seats and kept 8 in the Senate.

    In the state’s current legislative district configuration there are at least 12 more House seats the Republicans can win and 4 more Senate seats they can win as well. What the RPA needs to focus on is making sure that they recruit more candidates like Terry Rice and fewer like Alderman Kyle Reeves. If the RPA fields quality candidates in suburban areas they win. The Republicans can also win in certain parts of rural Arkansas as long as they field quality candidates. Bill Abernathy and Monty Davenport’s seats are both seats the Republicans should pick up next election cycle if they field quality candidates.

    In the near future I’d expect the Republicans to continue to make some gains in the state legislature. They have underperformed for the last 8 years and with any organized effort they’ll start adding to their numbers again.

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  • November 14, 2008 at 3:12 pm
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    Well crap. Im glad that I included the (I think) because as we see, I was wrong. Thanks for the accurate info.

    All i hear is blah blah blah blah when you start talking about what kind of Repub you need and dont need to win etc etc.

    I wish you all the best in picking up legislative seats to your hearts content.

    ….but. Underperformed in 2004? When Bush had a “mandate” and “political capital” that he was going to use it because the people gave it to him? And with the gay marriage amendment on the ballot to push up turnout? How did yall get smoked then?

    Ya’ll got Hucklebucked.

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  • November 14, 2008 at 4:28 pm
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    BR549,

    The Republicans underperformed very badly in 2004 in Arkansas. There really wasn’t a Republican Party that year. In 2003 Marty Riell bankrupted the party and 2004 was spent trying to get out from under the massive debt he left.

    The Republicans had no functioning party. That is how Robbie Wills got elected. He would not have won his race had he not been running against someone who exposed himself to 8 year olds. That goes back to my previous post about recruiting good candidates. The Republicans will pick up seat in the legislature if they start actually recruiting decent people to run for office.

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  • November 14, 2008 at 6:48 pm
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    What was wrong with Kyle Reeves?

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  • November 14, 2008 at 6:53 pm
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    And Scott and Sebastian counties are very different than White county and Searcy the home turf of Gov. Beebe.

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  • November 14, 2008 at 7:19 pm
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    And how’s Grant county doin’ Bill?

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  • November 14, 2008 at 8:23 pm
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    White County voted for John McCain by a 44% margin. It was the second best county in the state for McCain. (Grant County, my home county, was the best) there is no reason the Republicans should have lost the Searcy seat. Republicans have held the seat before and White County is very Republican friendly.

    We’re doing well down here in Grant County. Republicans won Grant County 2 years ago when they had a legislative race. The Republican didn’t win down in Rison or there would be another Republican in the state house.

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  • November 15, 2008 at 8:14 am
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    What Republicans won Grant County two years ago… I’m pretty sure the state rep candidate lost.

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  • November 15, 2008 at 8:51 am
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    Representative Bobby Pierce (D) won district 19 in 06′. If Grant County Republicans had a ground game in 06′ he might have lost. Does Grant county have any Republican county officials?

    Just like the Bush vote… the McCain vote doesn’t mean much on the local level. Obama would have won if there hadn’t been so many racist Democrat good ol boys in Arkansas.

    And do you even know the difference between Rice and Reeves, other than one won and one lost? What about Steven Meckfessel he was a great candidate, ran a great campaign with lots of funding and local support and still lost? There is more to a race and a district than who won the presidential vote. I thought we had a great slate of candidates this year.

    Bill before making disparaging comments about others you may want to have your house in order first. When you build a Grant County Committee and elect some local officials your voice will have more weight.

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  • November 15, 2008 at 12:36 pm
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    The results for Grant County in 06′ in the District 19 race according to the Sec. of State website

    Bobby Joe Pierce (Democrat) 2,786 53.96%
    David Workman (Republican) 2,377 46.04%

    That is hardly winning the “reddest county in the state”.

    and Rison isn’t in the district

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  • November 15, 2008 at 1:10 pm
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    What on earth does Grant County have to do with Kyle Reeves, and why does Teddy Republican love Kyle Reeves so much? It is pretty clear that Reeves underperformed, and if you look at his financials — particularly, his pattern of very weird, Fechtelkotter-style spending — you can see why.

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  • November 15, 2008 at 1:59 pm
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    Bill’s in Grant County. It’s not that I love Reeves. It’s just that we had pretty good candidates. That ran good races, some better than others. It was such an improvement from 06′.

    There was room for improvement in a few of the races we lost. But these people stepped up, put their own money, time, effort and energy on the line.

    Meckfessel lost because the Obama vote was way beyond what was projected for Sherwood. I mean Sherwood went for Obama! If you look at the Bush and Asa votes it should have gone to McCain and Meckfessel. Reeves probably could have won if the managing editor of the local newspaper didn’t teach Sunday school and was good friends with Reeves opponent. Beebe also put his muscle into the race and put Dems in the polls that would have normally stayed home. Both candidates lost by about 500 votes out of about 11,000. I think that is a pretty good improvement over 06′.

    All I am saying is that sometimes there is more to the story than just who won and who lost, and if you don’t know, don’t judge till you do.

    I am past bitter about armchair coaches putting in their two cents(or less) about why we won or lost.

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  • November 15, 2008 at 2:57 pm
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    Teddy, Rison is in the same legislative district as Grant County. There are only about 9,000 people in Grant county. We don’t have enough people to have our own legislator.

    Mr. Workman got a majority of the vote 2 years ago in Grant County; however, he lost in Cleveland County very badly. Grant County is on the verge of becoming like Saline County. Soon we’ll have us good Republicans representing us.

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  • November 15, 2008 at 3:39 pm
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    This is the vote total from 2 years ago in GRANT COUNTY ONLY

    Bobby Joe Pierce (Democrat) 2,786 53.96%
    David Workman (Republican) 2,377 46.04%

    He hardly won in Grant… and Cleveland County is District 10 with a little District 18. Grant county is District 19.

    Here is a map of the districts
    http://www.arkansas.gov/house/reps.php

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  • November 15, 2008 at 4:13 pm
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    Teddy, it is bizarre behavior for you to continue to post irrelevant information but refuse to answer any of my questions. Kyle Reeves has nothing to do with Grant County, but Kyle’s Fechtelkotterian waste of money has everything to do with Kyle Reeves.

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  • November 15, 2008 at 5:01 pm
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    How did he waste money? On direct mail? On radio? on TV? What else do you spend money on?

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  • November 15, 2008 at 5:02 pm
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    Sorry Embarrassed.. I was dealing with out of touch Bill.

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  • November 15, 2008 at 5:28 pm
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    It went out two weeks before the election. He had been up on the two largest radio stations for 6 months prior to that. His opponent sent the first direct mail three days before Kyle. He went up on local cable one week before the election. His opponent went up on radio lightly two weeks before the election and never went on TV. He went door to door, his opponent didn’t. Beebe sent out a direct mail in support of his opponent the week before the election.

    A week before the election the local Newspaper ran a front page story about him firing a pregnant woman and that she was suing him. They failed to interview any witnesses from Kyles side and frankly his attorney didn’t help him much. Without going into detail… the woman is lying and Kyle has plenty of witnesses that will testify against her false claim. The managing editor of the paper teaches sunday school with Kyle’s opponent and has been friends with him for a long time. It was a well planned and timed article. It was what cost him the election.

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  • November 15, 2008 at 8:38 pm
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    I know some of the folks who worked on his campaign, and I asked Kyle. I was a little surprised when he lost.

    I try to keep up with most of the central Arkansas Republican doings, and I help out where I can.

    I’ll tell you the big surprise was District 43. Everyone thought Steve’s team did a good job. The Obama vote was a complete surprise. Although there are a number of union folks there, and his opponent is an aclu lawyer..

    Do you know what happened to David McCoy’s race over in Saline County? I haven’t seen him since the election.

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  • November 15, 2008 at 9:57 pm
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    “It went out two weeks before the election. He had been up on the two largest radio stations for 6 months prior to that.”

    Thus, he wasted money. Somebody should tell Kyle about this phenomenon we have in Arkansas called “early voting.”

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