What a return to Arkansas after three weeks away. Spring exploded. Pink flowers bloomed on my new dogwood. Arkansas strawberries arrived at Terry’s, where I snagged the last two quarts.
REPUBLICANS DEBATES: Republican gubernatorial candidates debated before a Young Reoublicans group. AP’s Andrew DeMillo reports that Asa Hutchinson and Curtis Coleman tangled on several issues. Hutchinson hit Coleman for “inflammatory rhetoric” in saying he might resist deployment of Arkansas National Guard troops to foreign trouble spots. Coleman forced Hutchinson to apologize for supporting the nomination of Eric Holder as attorney general. Hutchinson nailed Coleman as a hypocrite for opposing state incentives for a steel mill despite having been a recipient of state help for his Safe Foods company (a poor state investment, it turned out). Coleman also tabbed Hutchinson, the former congressman, federal bureaucrat and lobbyist as a creature of Washington, which the Arkansas Democratic Party hailed as truth-telling.
“Today Congressman Hutchinson tried to hide his record as a DC lobbyist and anti-education congressman from Arkansas voters. Congressman Hutchinson’s record speaks for itself.
“Congressman Hutchinson cashed in on his position at the Department of Homeland Security and became a DC lobbyist for the specific purpose of steering contracts from his former department to his clients. In Congress, Hutchinson has a long history of opposing key investments in education like science education, Pell grants and reducing classroom size.
“Arkansans aren’t looking for a Governor who will bring the dysfunction and values of Washington, DC to Arkansas. Congressman Hutchinson left Arkansas to cash in and when he did, he left his Arkansas values behind.”
The Dems quoted Coleman: If you stop and think about it the majority of my opponent’s credentials have been Washington D.C. credentials. I think you’re looking for Arkansas credentials.”
Also at the debate: self-styled “pro-life conservative” state Rep. Ann Clemmer was mighty proud of her performance against 2nd District Congressional opponent French Hill for calling him down on a campaign contribution to former Democratic Treasurer Martha Shoffner and then getting state investments for his bank from the treasurer’s office. From her news release, an account of Clemmers’ questioning
My question to you is, are you sorry you gave money to a Democrat for your own profit?
Unable to answer the question, Hill danced around it like the Washington bureaucrat he is.
Hill worked in the presidential administration of George H.W. Bush.
Clemmer’s effort to establish herself as the farthest right of the two candidates will endear her with voters in the suburban ring of the district. It won’t help her in Pulaski, come general election time should it succeed as a primary tactic.
AP’s account has another GOP candidate for 2nd district, Colonel Reynolds, also focusing on Hill. Sounds like the front-runner to me.
Young Democrats gathered today, too, and heard from candidates such as Sen. Mark Pryor, who fired up the crowd by saying millions were being spent to beat him because he listens to the people of Arkansas, not the moneyed interests. Not a bad theme. Better still is his Republican opponent, Odd Tom Cotton, who proudly votes and defends extremist politics damaging to the majority of Arkansans’ interests.
Good quote from Susan Inman, the Democratic candidate for secretary of state and a true pro when it comes to overseeing and running elections. “I want my grandchildren and your grandchildren to be able to vote” As noted earlier, Repubicans have a much narrower preferred view of exercise of the franchise.
* HOMICIDE: The Little Rock police reported another homicide. Lenard Montgomery, 25, died of gunshot wounds suffered in an argument among a group of people about 10 p.m. last night at apartments at 6201 Mabelvale Cutoff. No suspect in custody as yet.
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