Did Bill Halter benefit from a hidden conservative vote in Tuesday's Arkansas Democratic primary against incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln, despite having run to Lincoln's left? And will those voters be back again for Halter in three weeks' time, when the runoff is held?
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If the voting patterns of this race followed a strict left-right dynamic, we might expect to have seen Halter do well in the more urban, relatively liberal pockets of the Little Rock area, and for Lincoln to perform better in rural Arkansas.
But in fact, it was Lincoln who won Pulaski County (Little Rock), by a margin of 52%-40%, and she also won Jefferson County (Pine Bluff) by 51%-39%. Halter made up the difference and nearly caught Lincoln in the popular vote with stronger showings in many rural counties, especially in his home area of southern Arkansas. So how did this happen?