Line is open. Some final notes:
* PARTISAN HEADCOUNT: I haven’t done the counting, but partisan Twitterers report that, after filing, 17 of 35 Senate seats and 52 House seats will not have contested general elections, unless write-ins, or Green Party or Libertarian candidates emerge. On a partisan basis, Republican operative Ryan James counts a 26-26 Republican/Democratic split on the House side. Democrats lead 9-8 on Senate seats where candidates of only one party filed (there are contested primaries in some cases). The means control rests on 48 House races and 18 Senate races. See you in November.
* FORREST GUMP MEET KEN ADEN: Ken Aden, the 3rd District Democratic congressional candidate, says he’ll run 253 miles across his district in seven days, starting April 28, to raise awareness of hunger. He’ll ask for canned food donations for his run. If he doesn’t complete it, no canned food is owed. That’s a long haul. But Aden has time. He drew no primary opponent in his race to unseat Republican Rep. Steve Womack in the fall.
* A CALL FOR ETHICS: Price Dooley, a UCA prof is a Republican candiate for House in a primary against one of the Meeks boys. He’s worth consideration on the ground of his ‘bagger opponent alone. But I liked his news release today:
“Our state is facing a potentially crippling issue that needs to be addressed to restore the trust that Arkansans have placed in their elected officials. In my first sixty days as your representative I will introduce the toughest ethics legislation in Arkansas history. A comprehensive plan that will address legislative conduct, reduce legislative salaries, and deal decisively with legislative compensation. Additionally, I will donate my legislative salary, in year one, to Bethlehem House here in Conway, to set an example for leadership. it’s the right thing to do to restore your trust in our democratic process.”
* RENEGADES FOR A CAUSE: That’s the name of a loosely organized group that has come together to do good deeds for people in need in the GLBT community. First effort: A benefit show from 9 to 11 p.m. Thursday, March 8, at Miss Kitty’s, 307 W. 7th. Cover is $6 and people are being asked to bring household needs — pots and pans, furniture, toys — for a couple with a child who lost most of their things in a burglary in which property was also damaged.
* MARYLAND IS NO. 8: With the governor’s signature, Maryland today became the 8th state to allow same-sex couples to marry.
* CHECK IT OUT — IDEALISM LIVES: On-line now, the Arkansas Journal of Social Change and Public Service. It’s the work of UALR law students, led by David Slade, whom I’ve had the pleasure of knowing since he was in junior high. You’ve heard here before about Jay Barth’s contribution, the thesis that Arkansas is ripe for social change. There’s a photo essay on Occupy Little Rock (see slideshow above). There’s an examination of relief for Haiti, juveniles sentenced to life in prison, nonprofit organizations, attorney-client communications and more. It was heartening for this old cynic to see their enthusiasm at a rollout last night. And there are more on the way, I judge by David’s five-month-old son, sleeping soundly in a carriage.
* LET THE OPPO RESEARCH BEGIN: Scott Ellington tells me this evening — too late, because we missed connections earlier, to look up the official record — that public documents will show he has “stubbed his toe” financially a couple of times. The 1st District Democratic candidate said an $800 state income tax lien, that grew to about $1,300 with interest and penalties, was paid off last April. He said Craighead Circuit Court records will show a federal tax lien of $18,000, but he said this figure represents primarily an error by the IRS crediting payments he’d made on a former private law practice (he’s now a prosecuting attorney) to the wrong account number, for a previous practice in Paragould. He thought that lien had been released after a discussion with the IRS, he said, but learned yesterday that it was not released because of a dispute on $600 owed. He said the IRS had never notified him of the contest over that amount. He said he expects it to be straightened out shortly. He said he wanted to put the information on the record as soon as possible and address it head-on. He has never filed for bankruptcy, he said. You might recall that was an issue in incumbent Rep. Rick Crawford’s first race.