Wednesday, June 09, 2010

TOP STORY>>Halter falters in runoff

Leader staff writer

Even though Lt. Gov. Bill Halter moved ahead in many of the polls in the days before the runoff, he faltered when it counted, losing Tuesday to Sen. Blanche Lincoln, 52 percent to 48 percent.

Lincoln will face Republican U.S. Rep. John Boozman in the general election in November. Early polls have Boozman up by as
much as 20 percent.

Boozman garnered more than 52 percent of the vote in a crowded field of eight during the GOP primary.

Lincoln and Halter were forced into a runoff when the third Democratic challenger, D.C. Morrison, grabbed about 15 percent of the vote, preventing Halter and Lincoln from capturing the required 50 percent.

Lincoln made history when she became the youngest woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate at the age of 38 in 1998. She is trying to gain a third term.

With 98 of the precincts reporting, Lincoln received 132,727 votes to Halter’s 122,620 votes.

In other state races, Jacksonville’s Pat O’Brien, currently the Pulaski County Clerk, defeated challenger Mark Wilcox to get the Democratic nod in the secretary of state race.

O’Brien received 149,070 votes, or 62 percent, to Wilcox’s 92,720 votes, or 38 percent, with 98 percent of the precincts reporting.

O’Brien will face Republican stateRep. Mark Martin in November.

Chad Causey, Congressman Marion Berry’s former chief of staff, and Tim Wooldridge, a former state senator, battled it out, with Causey coming out on top for the Democratic nod for the First District congressional race.

Causey, who finished second in the May primary, gathered 38,713 votes, or 51 percent, to Wooldridge’s 36,741 votes, or 49 percent, with 99 percent of the precincts reporting.

Causey will face Republican Rick Crawford in November.

Democratic State Sen. Joyce Elliott and Speaker of the House Robbie Wills were the top two-vote getters in the May primary, with Elliott besting Wills by 12 percentage points. But in the run-off, it was closer as Elliott bested Wills, 54 percent to 46 percent. Elliott garnered 36,983 votes to 31,822 for Wills, with 100 percent of the precincts reporting.

Elliott will face off with Republican Tim Griffin in the general election.

For the Third District congressional seat being vacated by John Boozman, it was the Republicans in a runoff. Rogers Mayor Steve Womack squeezed past state Sen. Cecile Bledsoe, 51 percent to 49 percent.

He will face Democrat David Whitaker in November.

In the land commissioner runoff, farmer and business consultant L.J. Bryant solidly defeated state Rep. Monty Davenport, 59 percent (140,154 votes) to 41 percent (96,515), with 97 percent of the precincts reporting.

Bryant will face Republican challenger John Thurston, a minister, in the fall.

In the only local runoff race, incumbent Todd Wheat beat challenger Danny Whitehurst, 65 votes to 35, in the Democratic runoff for Position 2 Lonoke alderman.

In the May 18 primary, the two men tied, 33 votes each, so about one-third more people voted in the runoff.

“I just want to thank everyone who voted for me,” Wheat said.

“I promise to work real hard.”

Wheat does not face opposition in the November general election.