Hundreds of thousands of Arkansans flocked to the polls over the past two weeks, each casting ballots for both the national presidential primary and a number of local races. The top of the ticket presented voters with an early night on Tuesday. The further down the ticket, however, the more contested the landscape became.
Former vice president Joe Biden won the state decisively on the Democratic side of the primary, tallying over 40 percent of the statewide vote. Sen. Bernie Sanders came in a distant second with just over 22 percent; former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg showed at third with over 16 percent; Sen. Elizabeth Warren fell to fourth at 10 percent, below the 15 percent threshold of delegate viability.
Arkansas is what many would consider Biden country, as the Democratic demographics align best with those that he, and Hillary Clinton in 2016, perform well with. The result should come as no surprise, though many voters may feel at least some sense of it. Until recently, plenty of pundits and constituents alike had begun to count Biden out, and a poll from early February actually had Bloomberg ahead in Arkansas. Maybe it was the South Carolina bump, perhaps it was mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar moving out of his way, or maybe the polling was wrong — either way, Biden left no doubt in the Natural State.
Bloomberg bought a ticket, but he definitely didn’t enjoy the show. Despite spending millions of dollars worth of ad money in Arkansas and hundreds of millions nationwide, the billionaire amassed first place in only one result Tuesday: The U.S. territory American Samoa. Even though he rather defiantly pushed back on questions related to him dropping out on Monday, Bloomberg did just that Wednesday morning, ending his campaign and endorsing Biden in the same breath.
What transpired here at home roughly translated to the national stage, with the top-2 performers in Arkansas being the only real winners elsewhere. Biden won nine states, including Texas, to Sanders’ four, including California. Maine remains too close to call. With Bloomberg out, the two candidates remaining other than the two front runners are Warren and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. It would be a surprise if either of them lingers much longer, especially with Warren placing third in her home state of Massachusetts.
As it stands, Biden holds 506 delegates, Sanders has earned 455, Warren is at 42 and Gabbard just 1. A candidate needs 1,991 delegates to claim the nomination without contest.
But that was not the only high profile race on the night for Arkansas. The other statewide race was for a seat on the Arkansas Supreme Court between Judge Morgan “Chip” Welch, of the Sixth Circuit, and Barbara Webb, chief administrative law judge for Worker’s Compensation Commission and wife of Republican Party of Arkansas chairman Doyle Webb. This race proved closer than the presidential primary, but Webb still won by a margin of 8 points, tallying 54 percent of the more than 450,000 votes cast.
For Arkansas’ congressional leadership, each primary was uncontested, the November ballots locked in long before Super Tuesday. Sen. Tom Cotton was not challenged by a Republican in the primary, and will also not face a Democratic challenger later this year.
In the race for the U.S. House, all four Republican incumbents — Reps. Rick Crawford (District One), French Hill (District Two), Steve Womack (District Three) and Bruce Westerman (District Four) — entered and left Tuesday night unopposed by a primary contender, and Crawford will also not face a Democratic opponent in November. Democrats Joyce Elliott (District Two), Celeste Williams (District Three) and William Hanson (District Four) each held the Democratic ticket to themselves and will challenge the incumbents in November.
There were also a number of judicial races and other local elections at stake further down the ballots on Tuesday night. Click here for the full list of results.