Jason Tolbert explains why geography and demographics make John Boozman the heavy favorite for the GOP nomination in the AR-Sen race. Basically, it comes down to this:
Traditionally, Republican primaries are won and lost in Northwest Arkansas. The 3rd Congressional District contains close to half of the Republican primary voters. And even more concentrated than that is Benton County, with roughly a fourth of the statewide GOP turnout.
Northwest Arkansas has an eight-way race for Congress that is all but certain to go to a June runoff. The 1st and 2nd Congressional districts are both likely to have a runoff as well, but in the Democratic primaries. This will set up Northwest Arkansas to have an even greater influence in the runoff and create a firewall for Boozman that will be nearly impossible for anyone else to overcome.
Fair enough. From a competition standpoint, I would much rather see Bill Halter face someone like Jim Holt (*cough* wacko *cough*) or Gilbert Baker than John Boozman. That being said, if Halter doesn’t get the Dem AR-Sen nomination, I would prefer Boozman get the GOP nod.
Why? Simple. Boozman would trounce Blanche Lincoln in the general election, but would not be appreciably more Republican than Lincoln has been in the Senate. On the flipside, Arkansas has had only had one Republican U.S. Senator since 1879, Tim Hutchinson, and he lost his first bid for re-election (to Mark Pryor). Thus, even if Boozman wins, there is good reason to believe that the seat would be returned to the left sooner rather than later.
Sounds like a win-win to me.