Friday, May 21, 2010

TOP STORY > >O’Brien looks to runoff

Leader senior staff writer

Tuesday’s primary election failed to answer some of the biggest questions in the run up to the November general elections, questions that will be answered in the primary runoff elections June 8.

Jacksonville native and current Pulaski County/Circuit Clerk Pat O’Brien had hoped to claim the Democratic nomination for secretary of state on Tuesday, but despite a substantial plurality of votes—he had 147,999 to 104,648 for Mark Wilcox and 50,237 for Doris Tate—he got only 49 percent of the ballots that were cast. Fifty percent plus one vote is needed to win.

“We knew that’s about where we were,” O’Brien said Friday. “We were within striking distance. We expected 48 percent to 52 percent based on polling 10 days out.”

“Our message is that Tuesday night was a victory that we have to completely finish on June 8,” O’Brien said.

“The people heard our message and they voted for us. I’m the candidate with the experience and the qualifications and the plan,” he said.

The winner of the runoff will face Republican Mark Martin in November. Martin was unopposed in the GOP primary.

Pollsters and campaign workers are hard at work as Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Lieut. Gov. Bill Halter fight on to claim the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat y held by Lincoln.

Tuesday’s election was a photo finish, with Lincoln getting 44.5 percent of the vote to Halter’s 42.3 percent. The spoiler was D.C. Morrison, forcing the race to a runoff between Lincoln and Halter.

She received 145,187 votes to Halter’s 138,797.

In November, the primary winner will face Rep. John Boozman, who won 52 percent of the vote in the Republican primary.
State Sen. Tim Wooldridge will face Chad Causey, former chief-of-staff for Rep. Marion Berry in the runoff to choose the

Democratic nominee for Berry’s seat.

Wooldridge received 38 percent of the vote in a six-person Democratic primary. Causey had 27 percent of the vote.

The runoff winner will face Rick Crawford in November.

In the primary to replace the irreplaceable 2nd Dist. Cong. Vic Snyder, state Sen. Joyce Elliott won 40 percent of the vote and Arkansas House Speaker Robbie Wills got 28 percent, with former Snyder chief-of-staff David Boling finishing third.

In November, the winner will face Tim Griffin, the Karl Rove assistant, who won the Republican primary.

L.J. Bryant won 40 percent of the vote and state Rep. Monty Davenport 38 percent in the Democratic primary race for state land commissioner.

The winner will face Repub-lican John M. Thurston.

In Lonoke, Alderman Todd Wheat and challenger Danny Whitehurst each received 33 votes, so voters will settle the issue on the runoff ballot.

Wheat and Whitehurst are Democrats, and the winner on June 8 will go unchallenged in November.