Friday, May 28, 2010

TOP STORY > >Early voting set to start for run-offs

Leader senior staff writer
With early voting in the Arkansas primary runoff elections starting Tuesday, a third televised debate between Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Lt. Gov. Bill Halter for the Democratic nomination for the seat she currently holds remains uncertain.
Lincoln received 45 percent of the votes in the May 18 primary, Halter 42 percent, with D.C. Morrison receiving 13 percent.
Halter has pressed for the debate, but Lincoln has said Halter must clarify his position on the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier for workers to unionize.
Lincoln has opposed the act, and Halter, who has received about $5 million in support from unions, has yet to declare a position.
Halter says only that a compromise is being worked out between big business and labor.
Lincoln has received widespread press and some acclaim for her contribution to the Financial Reform Bill and has used the incumbent’s home-field advantage—the ability to announce projects and funding for things important to Arkansans.
She’s likely to announce this week that millions of dollars in federal and state funds have been acquired to move forward on the Bayou Met0 irrigation and flood control project, important to Delta farmers, landowners and hunters.

Former President Bill Clinton has endorsed Lincoln and headlined a fundraising rally for her Friday.

Halter has based his campaign on voter discontent with all things Washington, on his promotion of the state lottery that raises millions for college scholarships for Arkansans and on his work protecting Social Security as Bill Clinton’s director of the Social Security Administration.

The winner of the runoff will face Republican Rep. John Boozman, the easy winner of an eight-man primary.

In another statewide Demo-cratic runoff, Pat O’Brien of Jacksonville faces Mark Wilcox. O’Brien got about 49 percent of the vote, Wilcox 35 percent.

L.J. Bryant and Monty Davenport face off for the Democratic nomination of state land commissioner. Bryant got 40 percent of the vote, Davenport 38 percent in a three-person race. The winner will face Republican John M. Thurston.

In the Democratic runoff for the nominee to challenge for Rep. Marion Berry’s seat, his chief of staff Chad Causey faces former state Senator Tim Wooldridge. The winner will face Republican Rick Crawford in November.

State Sen. Majority Leader Joyce Elliott faces off against House Speaker Robbie Wills for the chance to face Republican Tim
Griffin in November to replace Rep. Vic Snyder.

Snyder’s former chief of staff, David Boling, who finished third in the primary, has endorsed Elliott. Patrick Kennedy and John
Adams, who finished out of the running have endorsed Wills.

Elliott is seen as the more progressive candidate, Wills the more conservative, but Wills has the endorsement of the Arkansas Education Association.

In Lonoke, Alderman Todd Wheat and challenger Danny Whitehurst each got 33 votes, so voters will settle the issue on the runoff ballot. Wheat and Whitehurst are Democrats, and the winner June 8 will go unchallenged in November.

Those who didn’t vote in the primary can still vote in the runoff.

Places to vote next week

Early voting in Pulaski County at the Pulaski County Regional Building in Little Rock will run 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Monday, June 7, with no weekend voting.

At other locations, including the Jacksonville Community Center and the Jack Evans Senior Center in Sherwood, voting will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Friday only.

In Lonoke County, all early voting will be at the Lonoke County Courthouse.

From Tuesday to Friday, voting will be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Next Saturday, voting will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and then Monday, June 7, the day before the primary, voting will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.