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 Runoffs & More on This Week’s ‘Arkansas Week’

Tonight

Tonight’s episode of “Arkansas Week” is available right here right now. You can watch on your desktop or wait for the broadcast at 8 p.m. tonight on your local AETN station.

This week, myself, KUAR’s Kelly MacNeil, UCA’s David Keith and host Steve Barnes talk about the latest in the race for the U.S. Senate, including Bill Clinton’s appearance today in Little Rock for Blanche Lincoln, and other news from the Week That Was. Also: I flub the whole Entergy rate case story! Watch me go from zero to stupid here.

#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.

The Latest on Lincoln v. Halter, Tonight on ‘Arkansas Week’

Arkansas' news week-in-review

We’re back at the big table this week, talking about the Week That Was in Arkansas News.

Appearing alongside host Steve Barnes on AETN‘s “Arkansas Week” at 8 p.m. tonight: myself, Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times and Kelly MacNeil of KUAR-FM, 89.1.

On the docket, the latest Blanche Lincoln vs. Bill Halter news (maybe those two latest poll numbers will come up?), a look at the Republican race for the nomination for U.S. Senate (will a certain campaign gimmick be mentioned?), Secure Arkansas’ lawsuit to stop health care reform, Wal-Mart’s big lawsuit problem and more.

Tune in to your local AETN affiliate to watch tonight. Or look for the video link right here when it becomes available.

Heart & Soul: Lincoln, Halter Guest on ‘Talk of the Nation’ to Talk Democratic Party Identity

Re: This storyline from the U.S. Senate campaign in Arkansas between incumbent Blanche Lincoln and challenger Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, both candidates are said to be guests on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” program today at 1 p.m. local time. That’s 89.1, KUAR, on your local terrestrial radio dial.

Here’s the pitch:

We’ve spent plenty of time this year talking about the divisions in the Republican Party, mostly about the rise of the Tea Party, and also focusing on the various primaries where the ideological differences are most pronounced, such as Florida, Texas and Arizona.

But there are divisions in the Democratic Party as well, and we saw that during the negotiations over health care.  Perhaps the biggest stage where two wings of the party are trying to define what exactly is a Democrat is Arkansas, where centrist Sen. Blanche Lincoln faces a spirited primary challenge from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, backed by many progressive groups.  The primary is May 18.

Both Lincoln and Halter are our special guests today during the Political Junkie segment on NPR’s Talk of the Nation.

(Noted: No D.C. Morrison!)

It’s unclear whether Lincoln and Halter will appear together. That’d be too much fun to realistically hope for!

Update: Show’s over! Halter and Lincoln appeared separately with hosts Ken Rudin and Neal Conan and rehashed a lot of what we heard during last weekend’s Democratic debates, including lamenting the negative tone of the campaign. Both candidates took calls from Arkansas listeners, including two from Hot Springs and a Lincoln supporter in Fayetteville.

After the jump, a tedious recap of an equally tedious hour of radio!

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Bill Halter on the Attack, Blanche Lincoln Holds Firm at #ARSenDebate

That (above) was the scene just before tonight’s Democratic U.S. Senate debate at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, carried live on KATV-TV, Channel 7; C-SPAN; KUAR-FM, 89.1; and Politico.com.

Blanche Lincoln supporters rallied for the TV cameras just minutes before the incumbent took the stage to face two challengers, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter and businessman D.C. Morrison. One of them was entertaining!

The other two? Well, let’s just say there were few surprises, as Lincoln and Halter stuck mainly to their respective scripts.¬†Lincoln: “One tough lady” who has cast the tough votes and worked hard for the working men and women of Arkansas, her allegiance to them higher than to her own party. Halter: The optimist who says Washington is broken, missing Arkansas values and besieged by special interests and politicians who are bought and paid for.

After the jump, some quick analysis and links to related coverage, including KATV video.

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