Asa Hutchinson, the Republican winner of the governor’s seat, made a notable effort to reach out to black voters. It didn’t work. Statewide, 90 percent of black voters stayed with Democratic candidates in his race and that of Rep. Tom Cotton, who defeated Sen. Mark Pryor.
The publication of precinct results in those races illustrated sharply the racial divide.
Democrats looking for like-minded neighbors should first drive out Frazier Pike to College Station. The vote there in the race for U.S. Senate:
Mark Pryor 344
Tom Cotton 0
And what of governor? Asa Hutchinson bought radio time on black-oriented radio stations featuring prominent black people such as baseball player Torii Hunter and my good friend Annie Abrams, the redoubtable Forrest Gump of civil rights history in Arkansas. A state NAACP leader was on stage with him at his victory celebration and he pointedly thank his minority outreach team.
Here’s the College Station vote:
Mike Ross 343
Asa Hutchinson 4
OK, I guess that’s progress.
I took a look, too, at Precinct 119, which covers Abrams’ home.
Mike Ross 790
Asa Hutchinson 52
But, hey, that was more more than the 37 votes Cotton got in trailing Pryor’s 799.
Saddest news of the day for me was the size of the Republican vote in the Free State of Hillcrest at my polling place, Pulaski Heights Presbyterian.
It was Pryor over Cotton, at the two precincts that poll there 1,842 to 573. Only three-fourths? We’re slipping. (Hutchinson got slightly more, 587 votes, at the same two precincts.)
Exit polls showed black voters made up 12 percent of the Arkansas electorate. Cotton’s campaign wrote black voters off, making the sound mathematical decision that a 60-percent vote among the 85 percent of voters who are white gives you 51 percent of the overall vote. You only need 50 plus a single vote.
PS — Hutchinson also got a late endorsement from Tracy Steele, a former senator and Democrat who ran a close race for mayor of North Little Rock two years ago. Not much discernible impact. Take the City Hall voting precinct, Pryor led Cotton there 271-43. In the governor’s race, Ross led Hutchinson 261-56.