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!

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Holding the Bag for the Turk Plant and More in This Week’s Arkansas Business

It’s Monday and time for the latest edition of Arkansas Business. This special edition focuses on utilities and includes the lists of the largest electric and natural gas companies in Arkansas. Among other highlights:

Jamie Walden examines the cases against Southwestern Electric Power Co.’s John W. Turk Jr. coal-fired power plant in Hempstead County and says that if Swepco loses its appeals, its customers in Arkansas and elsewhere could be on the hook for more than $876 million.

Another Twitter story! This time, our cousin the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal takes a look at the 140-character phenomenon in action among small businesses in Washington and Benton counties.

Also in the NWABJ, Rob Keys on Razorbacks’ coach Bobby Petrino’s $100,000 gift to the Razorbacks Foundation, believed to be the largest by a sitting coach in school history.

That decline in natural gas prices hasn’t curtailed drilling activity in the Fayetteville Shale Play in central Arkansas. Between 2007 and 2008, production and the number of wells drilled in the shale play region more than doubled.

Steve LaFrance, owner of USA Drug and twice the victim of embezzlement, is taking his latest alleged corporate thieves to civil court. Garret Sorensen; his wife, Katherine Sorensen; Katherine’s sister, Shannon Walters, already face federal charges.

Dillard’s Inc. of Little Rock is also going to court, taking several New York-based insurance firms to task for not paying up when. Its targets: two AIG subsidiaries.

Gary Lay isn’t the only Arkansas Mad Man who had problems with the Arkansas Lottery Commission’s advertising RFP. Mangan Holcomb also took a pass after reading the document. Meanwhile, The Natural Brands insists it’s going to continue to pursue advertising business in Arkansas.

We all know most newspapers would love to go back in time and live and in a world before the Internet. Now, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in northwest Arkansas has managed to travel back in time to 2007 — at least in terms of its circulation numbers!

KFSM-TV, Channel 5, continues to be the TV news ratings leader in northwest Arkansas, according to data compiled by Nielsen Media Research.

The Swepco Plant, the Economy, Lu Hardin and the Lottery on ‘Arkansas Week’

Tonight

Tonight

Watch/listen now: Video | Audio

Tonight’s “Arkansas Week” on AETN features me, David Sanders of Stephens Media and Rick Fahr of the Log Cabin Democrat, along with host Steve Barnes. On the docket tonight: Swepco’s plan to appeal a ruling that revoked the company’s permit to build a $1.6 billion coal-fueled power plant near Fulton in Hempstead County; former University of Central Arkansas President Lu Hardin’s new job at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida; today’s national unemployment numbers; and Powerball (!) and the Arkansas lottery.

Check the show — which we taped on Thursday — at 8 p.m. tonight.