Cob­bling To­gether Notes From Elec­tion Night 2018

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - OPINION - Maylon Rice Po­lit­i­cally Lo­cal

Here are some notes from an old re­porter’s note­book on the pre­vi­ous Mid-Term Gen­eral Elec­tion and cam­paign.

Hats off to Gov. Asa Hutchin­son on a re-elec­tion bid that was as strong as his for­mer de­feats for such of­fices back in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Gover­nor pulled off a dou­ble-digit win against a young and ris­ing Demo­cratic can­di­date, Jared Hen­der­son, and a pesky Lib­er­tar­ian, Mark West, to once again get to sit in the cor­ner of­fice of the sec­ond floor of the State Capi­tol.

Hutchin­son will also get to en­joy liv­ing in the re­ju­ve­nated and re­dec­o­rated Gover­nor’s Man­sion in Lit­tle Rock. It took al­most the en­tire first four years for his wife, Su­san, and Arkansas’ First Lady, to get to put a real re-do on the Pub­lic’s House and try to make it more a home for the stay-at-home cou­ple and their ex­tended fam­ily.

One does not have to won­der long, how sweet this re-elec­tion cam­paign was to Hutchin­son — it was in­deed, very sweet, long­time friends tell me.

The big­gest sur­prise of the night for for­mer State Rep. Jeff Williams, R-Spring­dale, was that he was not headed back to Lit­tle Rock. His de­feat at the hands of po­lit­i­cal new­comer, Me­gan God­frey, was a nar­row 30-vote mar­gin. Williams had run against op­po­si­tion be­fore, in los­ing a race for Wash­ing­ton County Judge to for­mer Judge Mar­i­lyn Ed­wards and in a tight 2016 race where he de­feated Irvin Co­ma­cho for the Spring­dale House seat in Dis­trict 89.

God­frey is an English as a sec­ond lan­guage teacher in Spring­dale.

Go­ing back­wards, in pol­i­tics, seems to be a trend for Casey Copeland of Prairie Grove.

He ran as a Lib­er­tar­ian can­di­date in the state House Dis­trict 80, col­lid­ing with three-term in­cum­bent state Rep. Char­lene Fite and Demo­cratic chal­lenger, Lou Reed Sharp.

Copeland, a for­mer Prairie Grove al­der­man and for­mer GOP mem­ber of the Wash­ing­ton County Quo­rum Court in years past, polled 16,325 votes in a hotly con­tested Dis­trict Judge’s race against Judge Gra­ham M. Na­tions in the May 2016 non-pref­er­en­tial pri­mary race.

Judge Na­tions won that con­test with 22,127 votes or a 57-42 per­cent edge over Copeland.

This time out, in the three­way race, Copeland only gath­ered in 856 votes for a 10.96 per­cent­age show­ing in the House con­test.

Fite won, by the way, polling 60 per­cent of the votes or 4,633 votes in the three-per­son con­test, ac­cord­ing to Wash­ing­ton County un­of­fi­cial elec­tion re­sults.

State Rep. Robin Lund­strum of Elm Springs, eas­ily won her re-elec­tion match-up with Kelly Scott Unger of Siloam Springs. Lund­strum pulled in 70.4 per­cent of the vote, to Unger’s 29%, more than dou­bling her vote to­tals in Wash­ing­ton County.

Lund­strum also car­ried the Ben­ton County (Siloam Springs) por­tion of the dis­trict.

Unger, who is a lawyer, at a Cham­ber of Com­merce can­di­date fo­rum in Siloam Springs, clearly misled those in at­ten­dance about a Face­book post­ing on her page pro­mot­ing “sanc­tu­ary” for un­doc­u­mented peo­ple in the United States.

She de­nied know­ing what the word “sanc­tu­ary” meant in the con­text of the ques­tion. A snap shot of the photo once on So­cial Me­dia clearly shows Unger and her daugh­ter hold­ing a poster that reads: “Sanc­tu­ary Ev­ery­where – We will pro­tect each other.” A brown hand clasps a white hand on the poster.

She could have owned her own post­ing, but did not.

There will be more women in the Arkansas Leg­is­la­ture than ever be­fore, ac­cord­ing to some lo­cal num­bers posted on elec­tion night.

This can only be a good thing.

State Rep. Greg Led­ing, who was run­ning for and won the State Se­nate Dis­trict 4 seat, did lose his cool in a di­rect con­fronta­tion with his GOP op­po­nent Dawn Clem­mence.

He later apol­o­gized and owned up to his mis­take.

But Led­ing, a gen­tle­man, a hus­band and fa­ther to a young daugh­ter, did win with 61 per­cent of the vote.

His con­trite and im­me­di­ate apol­ogy and ex­pla­na­tion of his frus­tra­tion, fu­eled by a whis­per cam­paign and printed fly­ers tak­ing his leg­isla­tive record out of con­text, pushed him to make the mis­take of con­fronting his op­po­nent.

And one last thing. Press­ing ag­gres­sive gun laws where no gun laws were wanted, beat Char­lie Collins for his re-elec­tion bid to the State House in Dis­trict 84.

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