FLEES SINKING SHIP: Rep. Jeff Wardlaw turns Republican.

Final count on political alignment in the Arkansas legislature shows a sharp drop in the already small Democratic minority.

When seated next year, the Democratic Party will number 10 fewer in the House, 26 of 100 members, counting election losses and the decision yesterday of nominal Democrat Rep. Jeff Wardlaw of Hermitage to flee for the power-holding Republican Party. He was never much of a supporter of Democratic causes.


The Democrats lost two Senate seats and will be left with 11 of 35 members.

A 75 percent vote — 75 in the House and 27 in the Senate — amounts to absolute power because it can defeat even strategies to stop most appropriation bills. So the Republican Party is not quite there. But as a practical matter, that power is rarely exercised. Split  majority Republicans have used it in recent fights over Obamacare, however.


The House will draw committee assignments today. No amount of strategy is likely to produce some strong committee representation, such as a split on the Education Committee, that minority Democrats had exercised in the past.

Wilderness, thy name is Democrat.