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One political truth evident locally Tuesday night was that there are two distinct kinds of voters in Little Rock and Pulaski County.

There are those who vote early and those who vote on election day.

Their difference is more than their voting habit or practice. It’s their political disposition.

Early votes in Pulaski County were overwhelmingly Democratic and, in the extraordinary nail-biter of a Little Rock mayor’s race, different from those of election day for some reason not so clearly partisan.

It may have to do with race, with a disproportionate number of blacks voting early and a much larger percentage of whites waiting until election day.

Because this happened:

• When the early votes were dumped about 7:45 p.m. Tuesday by the Pulaski County Election Commission, they showed state Rep. Clarke Tucker, the Democrat, with a sterling lead of 42,000 to 24,000 over incumbent Republican French Hill in the 2nd District congressional race. That suggested he might, with the addition of the election-day returns, build an eventual lead big enough in Pulaski to remain competitive as Hill inevitably routed him—as he surely did—in the raging red regions of Saline, Faulkner and White counties.

But, as the election-day returns trickled in, Tucker struggled to add to his margin. It was at this late-evening writing up only by 9,000, to 27,000, even as the election-day turnout was close to equal to the early-vote turnout. That was hardly enough to dent a Hill victory margin that appeared to be in the not-at-all-close 52-46 range.

• In the extraordinary first-of-its-kind race for a higher-profile mayor of Little Rock, Frank Scott, the African American candidate, had a big plurality of nearly 38 percent—13,000 votes to 9,000 or so for Baker Kurrus and 8,000 or so for Warwick Sabin—in the early voting. But in the election-day returns, Kurrus and Sabin ran close to each other and closer to him. He wound up with about 25,000 votes while Kurrus had only a few hundred more than Sabin, with both in the 20,000 range.

In the final analysis, the 2nd District re-proved itself red and embedded that way. The big blue island of Pulaski is not as blue as the suburban counties are red.

And the mayoral race’s likely runoff between Scott and Kurrus, with a few precincts still out at this writing, would pit eastern and southern Little Rock, which provide Scott’s base, against west Little Rock, which is Kurrus’ base. The deciders would turn out to be the midtown liberals who embraced Sabin, and whose leanings probably would be to Kurrus owing to his public-school service and Scott’s social conservatism. But it could turn out more complicated than that—for some voters, anyway.

Nationally, the story Tuesday was reminiscent of an old country song in which the woman tells the man he wasn’t the wave, but just the water.

There was no Democratic wave. There was no wide rejection of dangerous Trumpism. There was just enough of a rebuff of the preposterous and Russian-endorsed second-place president that Democrats narrowly took the House of Representatives.

The outcome is highly consequential, putting a check on Trump. But it is not substantial enough to chasten this presidential character—not that he could be chastened anyway.

John Brummett, whose column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a member of the Arkansas Writers’ Hall of Fame. Email him at Read his @johnbrummett Twitter feed.

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  • Rightside
    November 7, 2018 at 6:55 a.m.

    "While Tuesday night was not a complete win for Republicans, there was no blue wave, either. By most measures, Republicans beat the odds of history and nearly everyone’s expectations, while Democrats were left disappointed as the fantasy of Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Gillum, Stacey Abrams and others winning fizzled. Not one new progressive Democrat was successful bursting onto the scene. It will take a few days to process the meaning of this year’s election returns, but the instant analysis is clear: Democrats may have won the House, but Trump won the election."

  • mozarky2
    November 7, 2018 at 7:33 a.m.

    Let's not forget that the dims re-elected a pedophile from NJ to the US Senate, an America-hating, terror supporting, anti-Semitic to the office of Attorney General in Minnesota, and almost gave the governorship of Florida to a thoroughly corrupt communist.

  • RBear
    November 7, 2018 at 7:43 a.m.

    moz you idiot you. I see you're running with the alt-right news channel again. How about the San Diego congressman who has been indicted? BTW, tell me again WHO WON THE HOUSE?
    Rightside with regards to Cruz and O'Rourke, Cruz could only win by THREE POINTS while Gov. Abbott won by 13 points? The other races were so tight it's hardly a fizzle. Kemp should have won by much larger margins and the race will probably head to a runoff. Kemp is such an idiot (kind of like moz) and called a vulnerability assessment a "hacking attempt."

  • RBear
    November 7, 2018 at 7:48 a.m.

    Oh moz, let's not forget that AR Republican voters sent a tax cheat back to the AR legislature to steal even more from the people. That's a FACT, not right wing false rhetoric.

  • Rightside
    November 7, 2018 at 8:47 a.m.

    In midterms since 1862, the president's party has averaged losses of about 32 seats in the House and more than two seats in the Senate.

  • GeneralMac
    November 7, 2018 at 8:52 a.m.

    Mozarky..A shame that someone with such utter disregard for the law ( Keith Ellison) got elected Attorney General in Minnesota.

    From his wearing a T-shirt in a May Day parade stating he favors no borders to his laughing about driving on a suspended license to his trying to squelch an investigation into Muslims being recruited in Minnesota to go to terrorist training camps.

    Poster boy for liberal Democrats .

  • Rightside
    November 7, 2018 at 8:56 a.m.

    A woman who served as a juror during New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez’s federal corruption trial attended his victory party after he won re-election Tuesday. Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby, of Hillside, N.J., was among those seen in the crowd at a ballroom in a Hoboken hotel who celebrated Menendez’s win over Republican businessman Bob Hugin. Only in NJ...not many politicians can say they had their corruption trial juror/supporter at their reelection victory bash. Guy who has sex with underage girls, and win re-election by a mile only in NJ.

  • RBear
    November 7, 2018 at 9:28 a.m.

    Rightside I see you’re following the right wing mantra of lying again. No proof on the underage prostitutes and the peope who made the allegations said they were paid to do so. Look, is that the way this is played? Lie about everything? Sounds a lot like Moz and fake.

  • Dontsufferfools
    November 7, 2018 at 9:42 a.m.

    If the House is the pulse of the people ...
    It's the most democratic of our institutions. The Senate is flawed because it tilts to low-pop states, a gift to rural states by our sometimes foundering fathers, as is the Electoral College. At least we'll get to see the avaricious tax returns of our ridiculous president, who spouts nationalism while never serving or paying taxes. I'm beginning to wonder if our national divisions aren't at partially the result of the decline in newspapers. As a nation we once held certain facts in common. There is still good reporting out there, but you have to search for it. Most people don't. They take whatever the Manatee of Cuomo serves them, and consider it journalism.

  • GeneralMac
    November 7, 2018 at 9:44 a.m.

    John Brummett and RBear reminds me of those "experts" on TV who give their Bracket Picks in March.

    Sooooo confident, yet their picks are worse than the average Joe