Green Room

Upset: Republican wins surprise blowout in Arkansas Senate special election

posted at 10:56 am on January 17, 2014 by

Let’s read some 2014 tea leaves, shall we?  First, some background on an Arkansas special election that was decided earlier this week:

The special election for a northeast Arkansas Senate seat vacated by a lawmaker who resigned over ethics violations will be an early bellwether on the fight to protect the state’s Medicaid expansion, as well as Democrats’ chances in the November election. Voters head to the polls Tuesday to cast ballots in the special election between Democrat Steve Rockwell and Republican John Cooper for state Senate District 21 seat that covers the Jonesboro area. The winner will serve the remainder of the term of former state Sen. Paul Bookout – a Democrat. The race for Bookout’s seat between Rockwell and Cooper has centered on the key issue facing lawmakers when they return for next month’s fiscal session – whether to continue the state’s “private option” plan to expand Medicaid.

Craighead County has not been represented by a Republican in the state senate since reconstruction.  An analysis from the left-wing Daily Kos explained the dynamics and significance of this race:

Craighead County is part of the Delta. As such, it is part of the rural Democratic coalition that dominated state politics for over a century. Today, county politics are still largely Democratic…On the politics side of things, this election is huge. Craighead County is a key area of the state for both Mark Pryor and Mike Ross to win (they need to get at minimum 49% of the vote in this county to win the state) If Rockwell can’t put up a decent showing, Democrats are going to have some serious issues going into 2014.

So here we had a contested race in a traditionally Democratic area, the outcome of which held significant implications for Mark Pryor’s re-election bid.  An Obamacare-related controversy drove the campaign. Oh, and according to an email blast from the NRSC, the Republican candidate was outgunned on the spending front by a three-to-one margin.  Your result:

KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

It wasn’t even close.  The victorious Cooper called his triumph a “statement win.”  Indeed.  I’d imagine Sen. Pryor can hear that statement loud and clear.

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Comments

Don’t worry, the economy will save the Dems.

NotCoach on January 17, 2014 at 11:03 AM

What will King Putt do after receiving a ‘Farm Belt Haymaker‘ to his chin come this November?

Missilengr on January 17, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Senator-elect Cotton smiles at this.

change is for suckers on January 17, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Pfffft. Wait until people really start dealing with obozocare and the failures become personal.

The People elected a guy who has made a fortune giving speeches and then giving the Queen of England an iPod with his “greatest hits” on it as a gift.

Did people really think he cares about YOU.

KMC1 on January 17, 2014 at 11:57 AM

‘yo Pryor, you may want to give Blanche a call to see what’s coming.

DanMan on January 17, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Awesome.

Throat Wobbler Mangrove on January 17, 2014 at 12:17 PM

I think the fact that the demonRAT received any votes at all is appalling, but the outcome is heartening. One question though: is he a conservative or a rino.

jainphx on January 17, 2014 at 12:20 PM

The democrat party is going to run on Obama Care. It will be a winning strategy. Just ask Ditzy Debby or Nanzi, those two geniuses will tell you that.

jukin3 on January 17, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Rural America knows it is in the crosshairs of this Administration and the Progressive movement. I cannot imagine a Democrat winning an open seat in any rural community now. It’s become the party of big cities, urban hispter values, high gas prices, EPA regulating dust, attacks on religion, no jobs — the list goes on and on.

rockmom on January 17, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Ha! Hey Democrats, guess what? Gone are the days you can hide your policies’ failures behind the curtain of the MSM. They’re all out in stark public view now and you own ‘em.

Hey Pryor: tick, tick, tick, tick. Better get your resume together.

Kafir on January 17, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Obviously, Rockwell did not run on ObamaCare.

BobMbx on January 17, 2014 at 2:04 PM

How about more stories like this on the main page and less about Chris Christie?

Jack_Burton on January 17, 2014 at 2:22 PM

Senator-elect Cotton smiles at this.

change is for suckers on January 17, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Cotton is a great candidate. He’s going to go far.

GOPRanknFile on January 17, 2014 at 2:31 PM

Don’t worry, the economy will save the Dems.

NotCoach on January 17, 2014 at 11:03 AM

Heh. You can see from OBozo’s socialist Fed appointment how confident he is in the economy. Every time the Fed mentions backing off QE the Dow tanks. They are all socialists now.

Jaibones on January 17, 2014 at 2:39 PM

How much airtime do you think MSNBC will give to this story?

Okay, that’s a trick question. They’ll never acknowledge its existence.

Tom Servo on January 17, 2014 at 3:59 PM

How about more stories like this on the main page and less about Chris Christie?

Jack_Burton on January 17, 2014 at 2:22 PM

Bingo!

And how about becoming a conservative site once again. I cringe
when I see Hot Air’s name on the list of top ten.

Amjean on January 17, 2014 at 5:00 PM

“I don’t understand it. Rockwell really cares, man! He really, really cares!”

You know, caring and about $5,000 just may pay the average Joe’s Obamacare Deductible.

BigAlSouth on January 17, 2014 at 6:47 PM

Rural America knows it is in the crosshairs of this Administration and the Progressive movement. I cannot imagine a Democrat winning an open seat in any rural community now. It’s become the party of big cities, urban hispter values, high gas prices, EPA regulating dust, attacks on religion, no jobs — the list goes on and on.

rockmom on January 17, 2014 at 1:24 PM

than you need to watch maine as the fools here vote them in time after time.
when a republican congress and governor cannot fix 4 decades of stupidity in 2 years they turn back to blue. hope 2014 will repeat 2010 here but I doubt it.

dmacleo on January 17, 2014 at 7:49 PM

Democrats are going to have some serious issues going into 2014

…the time…has come!

KOOLAID2 on January 17, 2014 at 10:14 PM

Pretty consistent with what I am seeing in special elections all over the country, even in California. Republicans are doing well.

crosspatch on January 18, 2014 at 12:20 AM

The funny thing is that this is a State and not a Federal election. So it is much more of a stretch to tie this election to ObamaCare. Obviously the successful candidate was able to do so. And people say Romney was a better choice than Santorum (or any other anti-Obamacare candidate). We threw away our best argument with Romney. Sigh.

txmomof6 on January 18, 2014 at 7:22 AM

That is impressive as Jonesboro is the home of Arkansas State University.

The Opinionator on January 18, 2014 at 7:49 AM

This is why I say the lib media is vastly underestimating the beating the dems will take in Nov. I predict at least 12 House pick ups and at least 7 Senate. Obamacare is the most hated law in 100 years and affects everyone.

Ta111 on January 18, 2014 at 9:09 AM

not getting excited yet. the GOP will push immigration “reform” i.e amnesty and cement the dem win of 2014.

unseen on January 18, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Lemmee see his birth certificate and college transcripts.
Seriously.

Galtian on January 18, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Tea Party is dead! Viva la Bushies!

Irrelevant Rino Rove! s/

ConcealedKerry on January 18, 2014 at 11:12 AM

How many registered voters live in the state senator’s district? 7K+ votes is relative to what?

Because if the “relative to what” number is far larger than 7K we might have some problems to address in 2014. Problems the establishment is wholly ignoring.

Ah, here it is:

According to the Secretary of State’s website there are 44,727 registered voters in District 21.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on January 18, 2014 at 11:36 AM

oops, updated numbers:

Registered Voters: 45,085
Ballots Cast: 7,558
Voter Turnout: 16.76 %

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on January 18, 2014 at 11:38 AM

And the link.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on January 18, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Playing devil’s advocate for a moment. Did anyone watch the newsclip provided by Guy?

The special election was called due to the resignation of the Democrat Paul Bookout last August due to unethical campaign violations. Perhaps that partially contributed to the statement win not entirely that of the Democratic Party owning the crap sandwich that is Obamacare.

Just want us guys to remember Herb Brooks of 1980 US Hockey Team and honor his command, “Play your game.”

We can’t count on the Democrats to give it to us through their corruption and incompetence. We have to put forth compelling reasons for voters to choose our candidates. We have to be on our game.

Play your game.

islandman78 on January 18, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Solid South.

Punchenko on January 18, 2014 at 4:06 PM

So what were the final results. The provided link was to a local news site and the story of the election was either gone or buried deep. I could not find the final results.

I did see where two men wanted for murder were arrested in Tennessee but I wanted to know the final results.

gasmeterguy on January 19, 2014 at 9:26 AM

What about that Virginia election from a couple of weeks ago where there was a recount? The dem was leading by only 10 votes. There was never an update or followup as to the recount results.

AH_C on January 19, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Don’t worry, the economy will save the Dems.

NotCoach on January 17, 2014 at 11:03 AM

Probably not. In fact, if people feel the economy is improving, things like UI and the minimum wage will be even less important to most people. That makes Obamacare an even more of a liability to the Democrats, since it will affect so many people, and just when they’re starting to feel better about the economy as a whole.

EricW on January 19, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Look to see more and more Dem judges challenging voter ID laws such as in Texas. They now are realizing that their goose is cooked unless they can cheat. When you corner a rat that’s when the teeth come out. I’m delighted that the Republican won however when it comes to the Dems I think a close watch needs to be kept on them.

neyney on January 19, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Republican John Cooper of Jonesboro, a Tea Party-backed candidate who lost a race against Rep. Butch Wilkins in 2012 and was planning to run for that House seat again, now says he’ll switch and seek the Senate seat vacated by Paul Bookout’s resignation.

Enough said.

DannoJyd on January 19, 2014 at 7:13 PM

Play your game.

islandman78 on January 18, 2014 at 2:00 PM

I agree, so here it is.

The time to return the laws of the land guaranteed in the Constitution has arrived. The current head of the Department of Just Us [tyrants] refuses to enforce our laws and is held in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions about the Fast and Furious scandal.

Currently we are witnessing the destruction of what was once touted to be the best health care system in the World thanks in large part to our current POTUS who rewrites that law for political purposes and is ignored by most of our current members of Congress.

America remains a land of laws. Anarchy is the way to tyranny. The time to fight for those laws is at hand. Support your TEA Party candidate and we will return to the Constitution. Your freedoms require nothing less.

DannoJyd on January 19, 2014 at 7:24 PM

Maybe Pryor can make another “Jesus” ad.

Ward Cleaver on January 19, 2014 at 8:23 PM

oops, updated numbers:

Registered Voters: 45,085
Ballots Cast: 7,558
Voter Turnout: 16.76 %

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on January 18, 2014 at 11:38 AM

So that the winner received 4,314 votes, or 9.57% of registered voters, in a low-turnout special election. If the previous Democrat was ethically-challenged, that could have provoked a “throw-the-bums-out” reaction that helped the Republican.

It’s nice that the Arkansas Senate has a new Republican member, but this special election might not be a bellwether for the entire state in the midterms, due to the low turnout.

Steve Z on January 20, 2014 at 3:28 PM