Don’t fret — the runoffs are almost over
June 8th is the big day — the runoffs in Arkansas will be over and done with and we can focus on watching Republicans and Democrats get down to despising members of the opposing party rather than their own kind.
The campaigns have seemed particularly nasty this year — things haven’t been this weird since “Clinton Truth Squads” were out harassing voters when Republican Sheffield Nelson was runner for governor and giving incumbent Bill the fits. Instead of one race full of nastiness, we’ve got shenanigans all over the state.
Here are a couple of highlights:
Bill Halter vs. Blanche Lincoln
Incumbent Senator Blanche Lincoln is catching all kinds of hell these days. She’s been accused of letting Arkansas voters down by siding with Barack Obama on the whole health care debate and now she’s got Democrat challenger Bill Halter accusing her of all kinds of stuff.
Sadly, Halter hasn’t yet learned the definition of irony. He’s been howling about Lincoln’s tendency to cater to special interest groups and that charge has been levied through a bunch of television commercials and radio ads paid for by (get this) pro-Halter labor unions. Meanwhile, another non-special interest group (apparently) — the League of Conservation Voters — is running attack ads accusing Lincoln of supporting “big oil.”
It would be fascinating to get Halter to define what a special interest group actually is and what it means to cater to one. As Jason Tolbert of the Tolbert Report learned, however, Halter isn’t too keen on answering questions he doesn’t like.
Meanwhile, Republican John Boozman has to be grinning like a cat these days. He’ll get to face either Halter or Lincoln in the general election in November, so he’ll get to face a weary, smeared candidate no matter who prevails in the runoff.
Bledsoe v. Womack
Speaking of John Boozman, his decision to run for the Senate means that he’ll no longer represent the 3rd District in the House of Representatives. As expected, a ton of Republicans jumped in the race and started fighting each other.
Two of those Republicans — State Senator Cecile Bledsoe and Rogers Mayor Steve Womack — are now in a runoff and are bickering back and forth. That 3rd District race has been an interesting one since the beginning. We caught Womack using public property to advance his campaign not long ago, but the wackiness didn’t stop there.
The Womack campaign is upset that Bledsoe has allegedly been using copyrighted images of the mayor in her campaign ads. Rick Walker, president of Walker Productions (the group that produced the Womack ads which Bledsoe allegedly pilfered), said in an interview with Tolbert that Bledsoe’s use of the ads “shows a big time lack of integrity. Appears as an aging woman trying to hang on for dear life. Sad and desperate.”
Ah, but wait — there’s more! Remember Gunner DeLay? He finished third in that massive primary in the Third District and he issued a news release today accusing Womack’s campaign of being sexist and, well, just brimming with no-goodniks (click here for a full copy of DeLay’s release).
So, Walker Communications has both served Bledsoe’s campaign with a cease and desist order and managed to insult her a bit for good measure. And all of this is going down right before the runoffs. Perfect.
All of the squabbling has caused Roby Brock over at Talk Business to suggest that all of the Republican fighting might actually give David Whitaker — a Democrat — a shot at the 3rd District seat. Considering how that district leans heavily Republican, that’s saying something.
Yeah, there are some more fights going on, but…
We’ve got some spats in the Second District and, well, all over the state this campaign season. The two runoffs I’ve highlighted here, however, are particularly strange.
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.