By the end of the night, a clearer picture of the political landscape will have emerged as the May 22 primary elections decide many races and the June 12 run-offs and the November 6 general election match-ups will be set.
Talk Business host Roby Brock will be on Fox 16 News this evening with the first returns and full analysis. Fox 16 News team will be at a variety of election night headquarters with in-the-field reports.
THE BIG THREE
Of course, all eyes will be watching the First and Fourth District Congressional races.
In the Fourth GOP primary, Tom Cotton, John Cowart and Beth Anne Rankin vie for the Republican nomination in the open seat created by retiring Cong. Mike Ross (D).
Cotton has polled well and could be positioned to win without a run-off, although a late surge by Rankin could still force one. Neither outcome would surprise.
Democrats in the Fourth could see roller-coaster swings throughout voter returns tonight. D.C. Morrison, Gene Jeffress and Q. Byrum Hurst have all utilized different strategies from slick TV advertising to nothing but shoe leather.
Expectations are that Hurst and Jeffress make the run-off. Hurst has raised and spent the most money, which traditionally benefits unknown candidates. Jeffress has some geographical advantage owing to anticipated higher turnout in south-central and southeast Arkansas primaries, where he and his brother, Jimmy Jeffress, have been on the ballot for a decade.
Morrison, the spoiler candidate in the 2010 U.S. Senate Democratic primary, could surprise as he did a small TV buy in the last week of the campaign.
In the First District, Democrats Clark Hall, Scott Ellington and Gary Latanich compete for the nomination to challenge first-term incumbent Cong. Rick Crawford (R) this fall.
Hall has led the pack in fundraising and spending. Ellington brings name identification
to the table from his role as prosecutor in last year's West Memphis 3 plea deal.
Observers are expecting Hall and Ellington to duel into a run-off. There is a remote chance that if Latanich doesn't make much of an impact in the race, a run-off could be avoided.
Wednesday's aftermath from the Tuesday election will allow politicos to spotlight all of the local Senate and House primary returns. There are some epic primary match-ups on the State Senate side in both party primaries.
At the end of tonight, the State Senate primaries should be decided with the exception of a three-man Democratic field in southeast Arkansas.
Several House races on the Democratic side should spill into the June 12 run-off.
Republicans had no more than two candidates in all of their party primaries, so those races will be settled by the end of the vote count.
Among judicial races, the biggie is a state Supreme Court race pitting Court of Appeals judges Ray Abramson and Jo Hart.
A handful of regional Court of Appeals races are on a variety of ballots scattered throughout the state. Also, there are myriad local races for district judgeships.
Mitt Romney is predicted to have a good showing today in Arkansas although several dropped-out candidates will still appear.
National pundits will be watching Tennessee attorney John Wolfe's Democratic primary challenge of President Barack Obama. Polling has shown that Wolfe may gain a sizable minority of Democratic primary votes, particularly in rural areas of the state.
These will be considered protest votes against Obama, as Wolfe is largely unknown in Arkansas.
For our political junkies, you may find this Marketplace story of interest. The Library of Congress has compiled Presidential political campaign posters — the image ads of their day — from American history.
The compilation is part of “Two Hundred Years of Election Art.” Images included.
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