Collins to work toward increasing visitation to Arkansas by groups and promoting the state's appeal
Can the 2nd District be saved?
Republican Tim Griffin's 58-38 victory over Democrat Joyce Elliott in the race for 2nd District Congress wasn't a surprise, given advance polling. But the margin of victory for a far-right Republican was somewhat surprising given the district's representation for 14 years by U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder, a liberal Democrat.
The problem may be less a profound change in district voting patterns than the weakness of the Democratic candidate (and arguments are likely to persist whether it was her race [black], gender, issues or political mechanics that were to blame).
Proof: Three Democratic candidates who lost statewide races by narrow margins all carried the eight-county 2nd District. Shane Broadway beat Mark Darr 56 to 44 percent in the race for lieutenant governor in Conway, Faulkner, Perry, Van Buren, Saline, White, Yell and Pulaski Counties. Pat O'Brien led GOP secretary of state winner Mark Martin 55-45 and L.J. Bryant even eked out a 51-49 win over Republican John Thurston in the land commissioner race. All carried Conway and Pulaski counties, the latter by margins ranging from 15,800 for Bryant to almost 30,000 for O'Brien. Broadway also carried his home Saline County. O'Brien carried Van Buren and Yell, too. Elliott was beaten badly everywhere, except for a margin of a few hundred votes in Pulaski.
Name that tune — and gal
Arkies on Capitol Hill were intrigued last week when Mike Allen's daily e-mail for Politico contained an item saying rising Republican House Speaker John Boehner had been spotted at La Lomita, a Capitol Hill Mexican eatery, "singing to an Arkansas Razorback birthday girl. No calling of the hogs." Name that gal, and we'll provide you a Mexican dinner in Little Rock. Name the tune and we'll throw in a margarita.
Little Rock Promise?
The El Dorado Promise scholarship program — which provides to El Dorado high school graduates a scholarship with a value equivalent to tuition at an Arkansas public university — is being replicated around the country. News came last week that New Haven, Ct., had adopted a "Promise" program, with scholarships for Connecticut public colleges and universities and a $2,5000 annual payment to private colleges. Yale University is paying most of the cost. It's a powerful lure to get people to reconsider living in sometimes declining communities like New Haven. Anyone like to step up for Little Rock?
Mama Grizzly cometh
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will sign copies of her book, "America by Heart," at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Sam's Club on Bowman Road. Her publisher said a national book tour was aimed at heartland America more than major coastal cities, presumably because of the expected popularity of her message. Maybe so. But after we posted the news on the Arkansas Times Facebook page it drew 28 quick comments – all negative. Typical comment: "Please tell me it's Tina Fey."
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