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1998 Arkansas gubernatorial election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1998 Arkansas gubernatorial election

← 1994 November 3, 1998 2002 →
No image.svg
Nominee Mike Huckabee Bill Bristow
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 421,989 272,923
Percentage 59.77% 38.66%

Arkansas Gubernatorial Election Results by County, 1998.svg
Election results by county
Huckabee:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%
Bristow:      50–60%

Governor before election

Mike Huckabee

Elected Governor

Mike Huckabee

The 1998 Arkansas gubernatorial election took place on November 3, 1998 for the post of Governor of Arkansas. Incumbent Republican governor Mike Huckabee defeated Democratic nominee Bill Bristow to win a full term in office. As of 2021, this is the last time Pulaski County, Jefferson County, Crittenden County, and Phillips County voted for the Republican candidate.

Democratic primary


  • Bill Bristow, attorney
  • Dirk Anderson, farmer
  • Johnny Hoyt, state representative


Democratic Party primary results[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Bill Bristow 129,639 55.22
Democratic Johnny Hoyt 90,057 38.36
Democratic Dirk Anderson 15,072 6.42
Total votes 234,769 100.00

Republican primary



Republican Primary results[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Mike Huckabee (inc.) 64,819 63.56
Republican Gene McVay 37,160 36.44
Total votes 101,979 100.00

General election


In the beginning of the race, it was suspected that Republican nominee, incumbent governor Mike Huckabee would have to face a hard-fought election. Huckabee had assumed the office of governor in July 1996 after Jim Guy Tucker resigned over implications of his involvement in the Whitewater affair.[2] Because Huckabee had not yet been elected to the post, and the aftermath of Tucker's resignation had temporarily tarnished the title of Governor, it was deemed the Democratic challenger, Jonesboro attorney Bill Bristow, would be of worthy competition. However, Huckabee's appeal as an honest Southern Baptist minister in the wake of scandal and his brief but high-profile experience opposed to Bristow's lack thereof made him a much more attractive candidate amongst the Arkansas electorate.[3] His well-funded grassroots campaign across all portions of the state and Bristow's lack of support from the Democratic Party, which was more focused on Blanche Lincoln's U.S. Senate race, enabled him to soar in the polls. On election day, Huckabee won the election with nearly 60% of the vote, the largest margin for any Republican Governor of Arkansas since Reconstruction till Asa Hutchinson’s 2018 election performance of 65.3%.

According to a CNN exit poll, Huckabee received 48% of the African-American vote in his 1998 election;[4] but some experts have questioned whether those numbers are a representative sample on how he did on the whole in the election.[5]


Arkansas gubernatorial election, 1998[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Mike Huckabee (inc.) 421,989 59.77% +19.61%
Democratic Bill Bristow 272,923 38.66% -21.18%
Reform Keith Carle 11,099 1.57%
Majority 10,829 19.54% +0.14%
Turnout 706,011
Republican hold Swing


  1. ^ a b "Map".
  2. ^ Barnes, Steve. "Arkansas Governor Resigns After Furor".
  3. ^ Rosenbaum, David E. "THE 1998 ELECTIONS: THE NATION -- GOVERNORS; George W. Bush Is Re-elected in Texas; His Brother Jeb Is Victorious in Florida".
  4. ^ Faughnahan, Brian (January 15, 2008). "Could Mike Huckabee be America's Second Black President?". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  5. ^ "Ahead of debate, Huckabee's claim of black support questioned". Arkansas News. September 26, 2007. Archived from the original on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2017-02-21.
  6. ^ "1998 General: November 3, 1998". Arkansas Secretary of State. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
This page was last edited on 21 January 2021, at 22:44
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