Thoughts From Last Night

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    Three watch parties, about 100 shaken hands, one photo with Lt. Gov. Halter, and some 12:30am chocolate chip cookies later, here we are.  If my pounding head and the 140 emails I’ve received since 7:00pm are any indication, last night was both fun and eventful, even for people who were following from afar.

    We’ll have much more in-depth stuff later today (hopefully) or tomorrow.  For now, here are my somewhat discombobulated thoughts and memories of an action-packed 2010 preferential primary.

    • Raise your hand if you expected AR-02 to turn out like it did margin-wise.  All of you with your hands up are liars.  My prediction was Robbie Wills winning by a comfortable amount, with David Boling squeaking past Joyce Elliott and into the run-off.  Man, I was wrong.  Even people like Roby Brock who expected Elliott to lead the ticket if it was a Wills-Elliott runoff did not have the gap at 42-25 in favor of Elliott (to my knowledge, at least).
    • The second-most interesting part of the result (after Elliott’s 42%) is how well the results matched up with the original Talk Business AR-02 poll.  In making my prediction about Wills and Boling, I apparently disregarded my own analysis of that first poll, where I wrote:

      You could, however, say that people prefer Elliot over Kennedy (and, by extension, Boling and Adams) because those intervals do not overlap (16.4% to 15.6%, respectively). Now there is a caveat, of course. There is a 2.5% chance (half of the 5% I mentioned above — the other 2.5% would be above the range) that the true percentage in favor of Elliott is below 16.4% and a 2.5% chance that the true percentage in favor of Kennedy is higher than 15.6%. However, that percentage drops quickly as you move further away from the interval, so I would be pretty confident in saying people truly prefer Elliott over Kennedy (and Boling and Adams).
      [***]
      Long story short, if these poll numbers mean anything, it is that your run-off is very likely to be Elliott and Wills. To the extent that one of the other three candidates might shock us and get in to the run-off, my money would be on Boling because poll numbers can certainly change in a hurry in a five-person race, but the thing that will change them the most is money, and Boling has a lot more than Adams or Kennedy.

      Note to self: Pay attention to your own analyses and don’t change your mind at the last second. Related note to self: Stop typing your internal dialogue.

    • I was absolutely shocked at the level of energy in the room at Bill Halter’s watch party.  I mean, we’re talking about a non-Presidential primary race that did not even have a true “winner” (though forcing a run-off with an incumbent is a win in my book).
    • Pic from said watch party:

      “Today,  we put big business and special interests on the ropes.  Starting tomorrow, we’re going to knock them out!”
    • Speaking of the AR-Sen race, D.C. Morrison (as a proxy for “none of the above,” to steal a phrase from Chuck Todd) pulled a shocking 13%. This tighter-than-expected finish is a perfect example of how the margin of error really works in a poll, and it tends to support the Daily Kos/Research 2000 findings that the race was within the MOE.
    • Last note in this post about the AR-Sen race: I spoke briefly to Halter’s deputy campaign manager, Michael Cook, and I asked him if there was a strategy in place for the next three weeks. He replied that they had a plan, but that the biggest thing was just riding the momentum that had gotten them to that point. In other words, dance with the one what brung ya. Very underrated strategy; too many candidates try to re-invent the wheel at the last minute instead of focusing on the stuff that was already working. (See, e.g., I’m glad to hear that Halter’s people know better.
    • Turning to state races, my favorite result of the night was L.J. Bryant not only forcing a run-off with Monty Davenport, but beating him heads-up in terms of total votes.  As someone who continues to complain about the lack of speed in embracing new technology in this state, Bryant’s campaign has been of special interest to me.  In fact, Bryant’s desire to drag the Land Commissioner’s office into the 21st century is literally the only reason BHR even took notice of the Land Commissioner race in the first place.  I cannot recall another race for any office where there was such a stark distinction between the candidates’ positions on the immediate future of the office.  And, no, I don’t put any stock in Davenport’s recent attempts to hedge his position.
    • Speaking of Bryant, Jeff follows up on Bryant’s win and has Bryant’s post-primary statement here.
    • In the Sec. of State race, early returns showed Pat O’Brien dominating The King of Sandwiches. Now that we see that there will be a run-off between O’Brien and Wilcox, I can only assume that the breadmakers union had a very strong last-minute get-out-the-vote strategy.
    • Most disappointing result of the night, at least from a karmic perspective, has to be Linda Poindexter-Chesterfield beating Jay Barth. Horrible.
    • Biggest beatdown? Easily BHR endorsee Tracy Steele laying the wood to incumbent Richard Carroll by an 80-20 score.
    • AR-01, as predicted recently, sent Tim Wooldridge and Chad Causey to a run-off.  Way to go, AR-01; you managed to ignore the two best candidates (David Cook and Ben Ponder) in favor of the ones who were able to afford truck-themed, awful commercials.  Congrats.
    • Congrats to John Boozman for an impressive win.  He’s not my cup of tea, of course, but winning a majority in an eight-person race is impressive nonetheless.  Respect where respect is due and whatnot.
    • In AR-03, the expected Steve Womack–Cecile Bledsoe run-off came to fruition, though not without a somewhat surprising finish by Bernie Skoch.  Thanks for playing, Gunner DeLay.  You and Gilbert Baker can collect your parting gifts of reformed health insurance law on your way out.
    • Perhaps the funniest result of the evening was in AR-04, where Beth Anne Rankin bested Glenn Gallas.  Considering that they were basically X- and Y-chromosome versions of the same candidate, it cracks me up that people were able to form a clear-cut preference.
    • Finally, on a slightly more personal note, the Mrs. and I started the night at John Adams’ watch party at Prost.  While the AR-02 results did not turn out like anyone in the room hoped, the mood was still very positive.  Speaking with Adams for an extended period of time, I was more and more pleased that BHR had chosen to endorse him in this race.  I look for him to run for (and win) an elected position of some sort in the near future, and I am comfortable saying that I would endorse him in any race without hesitation.