The first million?
The first important campaign contribution period ended June 30, and candidates for state offices must report their results by July 15.
We hear that Mike Beebe will report having raised anywhere from $800,000 to more than $1 million since announcing his Democratic candidacy for governor on June 14. If that’s true, it would be a record for an initial report.
Neither Asa Hutchinson nor Win Rockefeller, the Republican gubernatorial candidates, would reveal their numbers prematurely. That might indicate neither did as well as Beebe — and they have primary opposition.
The Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor, Tim Wooldridge and Mike Hathorn, will report having raised more than $160,000 and $100,000 respectively.
No word yet on the announced attorney general candidates, Democrats Robert Herzfeld and Dustin McDaniel, among other already hotly contested races.
Speaking of that race for attorney general: There’s been a bit of talk among Democrats that North Little Rock City Attorney Paul Suskie will not be entering this race. Forget it. He’s in. And, on the Republican side, the question of the moment is whether Rep. Marvin Childers of Blytheville will stay in the race if former legislator Gunner DeLay of Fort Smith, who has proven pulling power in Northwest Arkansas, decides to run.
A unifying theme
There’s already talk of the major political parties devising unifying strategies under which all their statewide candidates can run.
On the Republican side, the buzz is that a petition drive will be started to capitalize on the enduring popularity of gay bashing. It would be a measure to outlaw adoption or foster parenting by same-sex couples. Republican candidates would be for it. They’d dare Democrats to do otherwise.
On the Democratic side, the buzz is about a ballot drive for a statutory increase in the minimum wage of $5.15 an hour, an effort that failed in the last legislative session.
You pick ’em: Candidates who want to punish gay people or those who’d give the working poor a few more pennies of income?
Follow the dollar bill
Paula Jones, who needs no introduction, got some ink this week in the New York Daily News’ gossip column for her stated interest in making a visit to the Clinton Library. “My house is about 17 miles from it,” Jones told the Daily News. “I pass by all the time. I kept saying, ‘I ought to go in there.’ My friends and I talked about putting on wigs — just in case they won’t let me in — and making a day of it.”
Jones said she’d mentioned her plan to the agent who swung her nude photo shoot in Penthouse and he suggested making it a publicity stunt, complete with sale of sponsorship on Jones’ T-shirt.
Jones said she could use the money because she’s used up proceeds from the $850,000 settlement of her claim against Clinton. “I got $151,000,” says Jones. “That’s gone. I was going through a divorce. I had to get a home for my two boys. I never made bunches of money. Mary Kay LeTourneau can molest a child, then turn around and marry him, and make $1 million off their TV wedding!”
Lake Woebegone South
After a second good crowd for Garrison Keillor last week in Hot Springs (nearly 4,000 for his streamlined “Rhubarb Tour” show), there was talk that Keillor may be back with his full public radio show next year. He likes the warm reception, which includes some economic incentives to appear.
Donald Trump Friday night signed an executive order directing government to scale back Obamacare to the extent possible. Though the signing was mostly symbolic, it likely has implications for Arkansas.
They've had a forum in Fayetteville today on Rep. Charlie Collins' fervent desire to force more pistol-packing people onto the campus at the University of Arkansas (and every other college in Arkansas.) He got an earful from opponents.
Check out the trailer for "Shelter," the Renaud Bros. new feature-length documentary about homeless teens navigating life on the streets of New Orleans with the help of Covenant House, the longstanding French Quarter shelter for homeless kids.
When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
Old habits die hard. We may have a new Republican majority in the legislature, but like the old Democratic majority, it still doesn't hurt to have a lawmaker spouse to land a part-time job during the legislative session.
When we first asked Gov. Mike Beebe about the "circuit breaker" idea out of Arizona (automatically opting out of Medicaid expansion if the feds reduce the matching rates in the future), he said it was fine but noted that states can already opt out at any time, an assurance he got in writing from the feds.
An interesting controversy is brewing in Conway Public Schools, periodically a scene of discord as more liberal constituents object to the heavy dose of religion that powerful local churches have tried to inject into the schools, particularly in sex education short on science and long on abstinence.