Democrats Fair Well in Region 8, National Elections

November 8, 2006 - Posted at 5:22 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- The political landscape of America is changing...The 2006 General Election proved to be a pivotal one for the Democratic political party as they now have control over the U.S. House of Representatives and potentially the Senate.

Locally, Democrats faired well in Region 8. As Democrats work to reorganize the House of Representatives and elect a new speaker on the national level, locally they were celebrating big wins overnight.

"I'm just amazingly pleased the margins across the board for all constitutional officers were even higher than what I thought they would be," said Jim Burton, former Vice Chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party.

Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill defeated incumbent Senator Jim Talent early Wednesday in one of the nation's most closely contested races.  Also big wins for Democrats in Arkansas with Mike Beebe, Bill Halter, Dustin McDaniel and Joan Cash.

"I think the principle reason is that the Democratic Party ran a more organized campaign.  Back from the time when Bill Clinton was still governor, the Democratic Party fashioned what we refer to as a coordinated campaign, with the idea that if one candidate has a good campaign, then everybody working in synch will have  good coordinating campaign," said Burton.

But it may have been the issues, rather than the candidates that brought voters to the polls.

"Newsweek came out with their pre-election issues poll and I happened to take note that the breakdown on that indicated...the question simply put was 'what do you think is the most important issue this election year?'  32% of the respondents said it was Iraq," said Burton.

Burton suggests that the lack of popularity of the war in Iraq may have been the reason why democrats favored so heavily in this year's election, but it's not for certain on whether or not that will help carry the momentum to the next presidential election.

"Like Harold McMillan said, a week is an eternity as far as politics is concerned.  Things can change so rapidly," said Burton.