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Sen. Blanche Lincoln, the incumbent Democrat, won her primary run-off contest with Lt. Gov. Bill Halter Tuesday with city votes. Halter — “whose campaign became a priority for unions and the progressive movement,” according to The Politico — only topped Lincoln in Arkansas’ rural counties.
Lincoln won statewide with 52% of the vote. She carried the state’s urban counties, however, with 57% of the vote.
She lost rural Arkansas (only barely), taking 49.6% of the vote. She won the state’s exurban counties with 51% of the vote.
Clearly, the more rural the county, the worse the more conservative Lincoln did. The more rural the county, the better the labor- and progressive-backed Halter fared.
We don’t have an explanation for this. Sen. Lincoln was chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee (“a boon for her heavily rural state,” according to the L.A. Times). But that didn’t seem to work to her advantage in this primary.
The results of the runoff were little changed from the initial primary. Halter won rural counties in that race by one percentage point, or 3,000 votes. This time around, Halter won rural Arkansas by just under 1,000 votes.