Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism
I know. We just finished the 2012 election.
But, everywhere I go, people are talking about 2014. Can Dustin survive? (Good question.) Will other strong Republicans challenge Asa! for the gubernatorial nomination? (Could be. Think Davy Carter as a winner-take-all possibility, if he could survive a Republican primary.)
And about that race for U.S. Senate, who'll challenge Sen. Mark Pryor?
That final question seems to be boiling down to two U.S. Reps. — Steve Womack and newcomer Tom Cotton. Womack is the stronger candidate. So I hope for Cotton. A cookie-cutter Club for Growth candidate awash in national money against a shoeleather Democrat for a sprawling congressional district is one thing. But the same charisma-challenged Republican running statewide against a moderate Democrat with a huge bankroll and stout family connections is another race entirely.
Cotton's opening vote against disaster aid for Hurricane Sandy victims is a telling symbol for his view of public service. Arkansas is still a place — as a net beneficiary of federal money — that responds to the populist notion of the federal government's role of broadly supporting the common good, not telling the hungry, sick and storm-wracked to fend for themselves.
I also hope it's Cotton because of indications that his tireless defender, extremist Republican state Rep. Nate Bell of Mena is hungering to run for Congress if Cotton tries to step up. That, in turn, might set up a winnable Democratic battle between Bell and a mainstreamer like, say, Sen. Bruce Maloch of Magnolia. A no-brainer, as they say, to go with the candidate with brains.
(Oh, OK, other Repubs would run for Congress, too, including some rational ones, like Lane Jean. I can dream, can't I?)
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