The Final Push: Staring Down the Barrel of the Midterm Elections

Finally! It’s less than 90 hours until this long national nightmare of a mid-term election comes to hideous close. We can’t wait for the relative calm (maybe?) of Nov. 3, when everyone sleeps for a full day before gettin’ wound up for 2012.

Until then, we’ve got lots to do:

1) “Arkansas Week,” 8 p.m. tonight. I join KUAR-FM, 89.1’s Kelly MacNeil, the University of Arkansas’ Hoyt Purvis and host Steve Barnes for a final assessment of the state’s Congressional and constitutional officer races, such as they are. Remember that big exciting Senate race? Not so exciting heading into the final weekend. We look to the 1st District for any final fireworks. Also: Swepco’s 0-3 in court rulings. Check your local AETN station tonight or watch it online here.

2) “Today’s THV This Morning,” election day. Last week, I appeared on the noon show each day for a quick, final summary of all the Congressional races. On Tuesday’s “Morning” show, I’ll be live throughout the morning with some last-minute notes and maybe a guest or two.

3) Midterm Election Watch Party, the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock. I’ll be on a panel with a couple of other yahoos to give some final impressions of this year’s campaigns. We’ll also take questions from the audience and enjoy a warm bowl of bean soup before the returns start, er, returning. Fun!

4) Election Night Returns on Today’s THV and ArkansasBusiness.com. Pop up some popcorn, grab a Coke and settle in for a long night. You’ll be on the couch, we’ll be in at the parties, on the phone, online and in studio delivering the latest election night news as it happens. Arkansas Business Publisher Jeff Hankins will analyze the county-by-county returns live on Today’s THV and THV2.com, and I’ll be manning coverage for ArkansasBusiness.com.

5) The Morning After. Hankins and I will be on “Today’s THV This Morning” and “Today’s THV at Noon” to go over the results and, maybe, What It All Means.

And if this year’s elections weren’t scary enough: Happy Halloween!

In the Firing Squad for Tonight’s AETN Governors Debate Among Mike Beebe, Jim Keet and Jim Lendall

AETN's video-heavy election page

AETN's video-heavy election page. Nicely done.

I’m among the panelists for today’s hour-long gubernatorial debate starring incumbent Mike Beebe (D), Jim Keet (R) and Jim Lendall (G). We tape the debate at 2 p.m. in Conway and it airs tonight at 8 p.m. on your local Arkansas Educational Television Network affiliate.

Also on tonight’s panel: Ron Breeding of NPR affiliate KUAR-FM and Bill Simmons of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. I haven’t seen anyone’s questions except my own, but I expect hot topics to include jobs, the economy, health care and, more than likely, state vehicles.

Each panelist gets ask two questions, so expect six questions total, plus opening and closing statements from each of the candidates.

Today’s debate is part of a series of debates airing each weeknight this week on AETN stations as well as on KUAR. Also tonight: the Lt. Governors debate between Shane Broadway (D) and Mark Darr (R), airing at 7 p.m.. And on Wednesday, Arkansas Business Editor Gwen Moritz is on the panel for the U.S. Senate debate, and Publisher Jeff Hankins will be part of Friday’s Attorney General debate.

You can see the full schedule of this week’s debates at AETN’s Web site here.

And speaking of that site, kudos to AETN for a solid multimedia Web effort. In its excellent debates section, you can see videos of each of the debates and conversations with voters.

Update: You can watch the full debate here.

#ARElections: It’s Over! For Now

Blanche Lincoln rebuffs a strong challenge from Bill Halter in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, Joyce Elliott wins big in Pulaski County to defeat Speaker of the House Robbie Wills in the primary for 2nd District Congress, Steve Womack’s votes come in from Benton County to give him a victory over Cecile Bledsoe in the lone GOP runoff for 3rd District, and voters go with Chad Causey over Tim Wooldridge in the 1st.

A round-up:

Jeff Hankins – Lincoln’s significant win, Halter’s significant failure, Wooldridge is done and unions? Good riddance.

Blanche Lincoln Beats Anger on Left, Now Must Face Right

Lincoln Won with Clinton, Anti-union Message

Womack Wins GOP Bid for 3rd District Seat

Causey Wins Democratic Nomination for East Arkansas

Elliott Tops Wills in Democratic Nod for 2nd District

UPDATE: Blanche Lincoln Wins the Democratic Nomination for U.S. Senate

Voters Sue in Garland County Over Polling Places

AP: L.J. Bryant Wins Dem Nomination for Land Commissioner

AP: O’Brien Wins Dem Nod for Secretary of State

More

The Morning After – Arkansas Times

Blanche Lincoln Wins – Sad trombone from Max Brantley

Behind closed doors, Republicans were worried about Halter in the general – Blake’s Think Tank

#ARElections: Let’s Try This Again, Shall We? Join Us for Coverage on Today’s THV Tonight

It’s deja vu all over again!

Once again, Arkansas Business Publisher Jeff Hankins and I will be on Today’s THV tonight, part of the CBS affiliate’s local election coverage.

You can catch coverage during the 5, 6 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts, the latter featuring a segment with Hankins. We’ll both be aboard starting at 9 p.m. on THV’s regular network channel and its second digital channel, THV2. And of course, there will be coverage at 10 p.m. during the regular nightly newscast.

And you’ll be able to watch online. And Jeff and I will tweeting and updating ArkansasBusiness.com with analysis and news throughout the night.

We’re on Twitter at:

@JeffHankins

@LT

Hankins will be offering his analysis of the returns as they come in after polls close at 7:30 p.m., and I’ll be monitoring the online buzz and offering additional commentary. And THV reporters will be at crucial watch parties. Join us tonight and let’s get this thing over with, already.

We’re Live Right Now on THV2.com With #ARElection Results

(UPDATE: We’ve taken the live video down now that our coverage has ended. Thanks for watching!)

Click PLAY above to watch us now live on THV2.com. Jeff Hankins and I provide commentary and analysis with the THV news team as the numbers come in.

Follow us both on Twitter: @JeffHankins | @LT (See LT feed at the top of the RH rail of this site.)

Predictions: Jeff Hankins | Lance Turner

More Coverage

ArkansasBusiness.com – The latest numbers and analysis, along with breaking election news from the Associated Press. (News links also in the top LH rail of this site.)

InArkansas.com Mobile – Mobile users click here to get latest ArkansasBusiness.com news headlines in an iPhone-, Blackeberry-friendly format.

ARElections.org – Get the latest numbers from the source, as they come in.

Glass House Arkansas – A list of candidate watch parties and news sources.

#ARElections: A Sampling of Tuesday Night’s Political Coverage in Central Arkansas

With nearly 30 candidates running for Congressional seats, millions of dollars pouring into Arkansas media and plenty of national attention focusing on That U.S. Senate Race, tonight night is an Arkansas political junkie’s dream. How does one keep up with it all?

Here’s a sampling of where you can get the latest political news coverage after the polls close tomorrow night. (Any additions or updates, please let me know.)

TV

Jeff Hankins and I will be live all night on Today’s THV’s THV2, the CBS affiliate’s second digital channel. We’ll also be cutting into CBS programming throughout the night, with a big wrap-up at 10 p.m. Steve Ronnelle, president of the Political Animals Club of Central Arkansas, is among the guests.

KATV-TV, Channel 7 – The ABC affiliate pre-empts “V” at 9 p.m. with a 1-hour election special.

KARK-TV, Channel 4 – The NBC affiliate will have Bill Vickery and Pat Lynch as part of its coverage.

KLRT-TV, Channel 16 – The Fox affiliate will have Roby Brock as part of its regular, hour-long newscast at 9 p.m.

Radio

KARN-FM, 102.9Blake Rutherford and Jason Tolbert sit in with Dave Elswick for wall-t0-wall coverage. You can listen live online here. And check Twitter for live comments from Rutherford and Tolbert. (KARN listeners, please be nice to Blake.)

KUAR-FM, 89.1, (NPR in Little Rock) – Rex Nelson sits in, along with news coverage from Ron Breeding, Kelly MacNeil and the gang. Listen live online here.

Online

Again, you watch Today’s THV’s THV2 election coverage streaming live online here.

ArkansasBusiness.com – We’ll have updated analysis, as well as the latest numbers and stories from the Associated Press wire. For iPhones and Blackberries, go to m.inarkansas.com/news for those latest news headlines in a mobile-friendly format.

Arkansas Times Blog – No doubt there will be analysis from Editor Max Brantley and lots of colorful comments from readers.

ARElections.org – Returns as they come in. All the numbers, right here.

Related

On the Think Tank, Rutherford has a final pre-election media round-up of local and national coverage and commentary on today’s races.

#ARElections: I’ll Risk Looking Absolutely Ridiculous with These Election Day Predictions

Lance Turner on Today's THV

Click for a quick preview of Tuesday's races

(Video: Click here for a segment from Today’s THV This Morning Saturday on what to expect on Tuesday, Election Day, and here for a report on early voting from Saturday night.)

Earlier, I noted Arkansas Business Publisher Jeff Hankins’ election predictions. Others are weighing in with their’s as well. So how ’bout I play this fool’s game and give it shot, too? It’ll make our team coverage with Today’s THV on Election Night all the more interesting, as viewers can watch my on-air reaction — in real time on THV2.comas all my predictions crumble!

U.S. Senate, Democrat – With three candidates in this race, a runoff is certainly possible. And recent polls have shown incumbent Blanche Lincoln unable to cross the 50 percent mark to avoid one. But she leads Lt. Gov. Bill Halter by anywhere from 9-12 points.

Meanwhile, third-candidate D.C. Morrison polls with 6-7 percent of the vote.

All this leaves a big chunk of undecided votes. Which way do they fall?

I think most stand pat with the Devil They Know, Blanche Lincoln, a moderate who is just fine for conservative Arkansas. Her position at the top of a key committee, Agriculture, is also important to Arkansans.

But I also think Morrison gets his 6 percent of the vote — maybe more — with anti-incumbent voters casting ballots against Washington, against politics as usual. Some of that sentiment helps Halter, who moves some of the undecideds into his column.

But at the end of the night, Lincoln leads but doesn’t break 50, and she and Halter head for a runoff. Three. More. Weeks. Don’t ask me what happens after that.

Holt, on the stump in Sherwood

U.S. Senate, Republican – Here’s what’s been the conventional wisdom: U.S Rep. John Boozman ends up in a runoff with State Sen. Gilbert Baker, narrowly defeating his primary challenger for the No. 2 spot, Jim Holt. With everyone going to polls for sitting 3rd District Congressman Boozman in northwest Arkansas, Holt has little support left to draw from.

But: I think Tea Partiers and, again, the anti-incumbent voters come out strong for Holt. Meanwhile, voters in Baker’s home county of Faulkner will throw more weight in the Democratic primary due to Robbie Wills’ 2nd District House candidacy.

So I’m going to go out on a limb and say Holt, with little money and organization, will find himself in a three-week battle with Boozman starting Wednesday. Baker, with more money and better organization than Holt, is shut out in a squeaker. It’s gonna hurt.

U.S. House, District 1, Democrat – Tim Wooldridge and Chad Causey, the chief of staff of retiring District 1 Rep. Marion Berry, make the runoff.

U.S. House, District 2, Democrat – Arkansas House Speaker Robbie Wills finds himself in a runoff with State Sen. Joyce Elliott. David Boling, the chief of staff of retiring District 2 Rep. Vic Snyder, makes a respectable showing.

U.S. House, District 2, Republican – Tim Griffin wins outright versus Scott Wallace.

U.S. House, District 3, Republican – Steve Womack in a runoff with Cecile Bledsoe. Why not?

So there you have it. My first official go at Election Day predictions in Arkansas. For others prognostications, including a look at other races, check our friends at Blake’s Think Tank and The Tolbert Report.