We've been noting rumors that some of the top Arkansas lawmakers who had previously endorsed former Gov. Mike Huckabee would switch their support to Marco Rubio once Huckabee dropped out.
The first wave has begun, reports the AP's Andrew Demillo. U.S. Reps. Rick Crawford and Steve Womack are endorsing Rubio, the campaign announced, as well as Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin.
What about the governor? No word from Asa Hutchinson yet but for what it's worth, two of his nephews, state senators Jeremy Hutchinson and Jim Hendren, are backing Rubio. (Here's a full list of the state of Arkansas endorsements before Huckabee dropped out.)
For his part, Huckabee himself told Fox's Megyn Kelly (see video above) that he didn't have any intention of endorsing anyone "any time soon." Kelly asked him point blank whether he would endorse Donald Trump when Trump comes to Little Rock; Huckabee brushed off those rumors and said he wasn't even going to be in Little Rock. I'd bet on the Huckster backing Rubio, who finished third in the Iowa caucuses, unless Bronze Medal Marco slips up in the states to come. Huckabee noted that his endorsement probably won't mean very much.
U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, who's scheduled a town hall next week in Bentonville, says he expects some frustration from constituents because of the tactics so far in Republican efforts to ditch the Affordable Care Act and come up with something different. /more/
Vice President Mike Pence will visit Little Rock tomorrow afternoon (Friday, March 24) the Republican Party of Arkansas announced today. He'll speak about health care. The visit will happen the day after the U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Trump Administration's preferred vehicle for Obamcare repeal. /more/
Mike Huckabee, whose daughter works for Donald Trump, has written an op-ed for the Washington Post endorsing continued funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, which Trump has proposed to eliminate. /more/
Tim Griffin for a spot in the Trump administration? He's reportedly under consideration for Army secretary. One wonders what Bud Cummins, who lost a federal job on account of Griffin and was an early Trump leader in Arkansas, has to say about THAT. /more/
Making Change at Walmart, an effort by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union to advocate for the retailer to pay employees a living wage, is kicking off a campaign this month, with Arkansas among the target states.
Russell Racop has filed, as promised, his lawsuit over the State Police's refusal — under guidance from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge — to release records that provide information that led to the firing of current Alcoholic Beverage Control Enforcement Director Boyce Hamlet as a state trooper.
Judge P.K. Holmes is rethinking whether lawyers deserve punishment in a class action lawsuit against an insurance company abruptly pulled from his court after pending more than a year and then quickly settled in a state court.
Arkansas Business reports here on a federal court filing Wednesday that shows a second person has pleaded guilty to a bribery scheme to help a major contractor of the state Department of Human Services.
Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.
The strongest, most enduring calls for the death penalty come from those who feel deeply the moral righteousness of "eye-for-an-eye" justice, or retribution. From the depths of pain and the heights of moral offense comes the cry, "The suffering you cause is the suffering you shall receive!" From the true moral insight that punishment should fit the crime, cool logic concludes, "Killers should be killed." Yet I say: retribution yes; death penalty no.
Arkansas Times contributor Jacob Rosenberg is at the Cummins Unit in Grady filing dispatches tonight in advance of the expected execution of Ledell Lee, who was sentenced to death for the Feb. 9, 1993, murder of Debra Reese, 26, who was beaten to death in the bedroom of her home in Jacksonville.
Lee Short, the lawyer for Ledell Lee, the man Arkansas put to death just before midnight last night, posted on Facebook the following letter of thanks for personal support and a bit about Lee's last hours, distributing his possessions and talking to family.
Photos taken Thursday night by Brian Chilson and David Koon, at Cummins Prison in Grady, the State Police barricade away from the prison and in front of the Governor's Mansion, before and after the execution of Ledell Lee.