Democrats had to search hard for positive news in election results. One glimmer of redemption was in Pulaski County.
Hillary Clinton carried the county 57-38.
Conner Eldridge led in U.S. Senate balloting 56-41.
Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill was elected to a second term, but for the second time he lost his home county of Pulaski (reminiscent of Tommy Robinson’s days of rejection in Pulaski, while carrying the surrounding counties.) And French Hill lost to Dianne Curry, the former Little Rock School Board member, who ran no visible campaign because she had virtually no money. She led Hill 48.4 to 47.1 and a Libertarian got another 4 percent.
There were no party switches in legislative races. Not good news, but not bad.
Democrats — Kathy Lewison and Teresa Coney — turned back Republicans in the two contested races for Quorum Court, county government’s controlling body.
And then there was this piece of good news:
Capi Peck won the seat Brad Cazort is vacating in Ward 4 on the Little Rock City Board of Directors. It was a close race, 49-44, over developer Jeff Yates, who was backed by chamber of commerce money. She’s a solid progressive, a successful businesswoman and tireless worker. She supports things like local control of the Little Rock School District, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and the West Memphis 3. She is not a business-as-usual candidate and she will join Kathy Webb and others to form a generally progressive bloc on many issues before the Little Rock City Board. It’s past time for more leadership from that group, maybe even a change of government to ward elections.
A side note: I was saddened by the loss of a promising candidate, Molly Miller, to illness in a planned challenge of too-long-serving Director Joan Adcock. Though she’d withdrawn and her votes don’t count, Molly still got 37 percent of the vote. That’s a signal, Mrs. Adcock. At-large Director Gene Fortson also was re-elected over two opponents, Clayton Johnson and Jason Ferguson, with right at 50 percent of the vote.
As I mentioned last night, a chamber of commerce-backed slate swept the four seats targeted on the new Pulaski County School Board, back in business after years of state control. Voters also rejected the tax millage. The tax vote is meaningless. The millage stays in effect. But it continues a long pattern for a district that has always had trouble building a constituency and now yearns further balkanization. Jacksonville has split off. Some in Sherwood and Maumelle would like to follow.