Rick Calhoun will run for lieutenant governor. He said his campaign offices will officially open Aug. 2 above the Flying Fish restaurant, although he will not announce his candidacy until later.
Asked about rumors that he already had raised $250,000 toward his campaign, Calhoun, a vice president for Crews and Associates, said that he has “commitments for a significant amount of money,” but that the rumors may refer to his ability to contribute his own finances. “I do have the resources and can raise the resources to run a credible race,” he said.
Calhoun grew up in Morrilton but has lived in Little Rock for 34 years. He describes himself as a social and fiscal conservative, and he is close friends with Gov. Mike Huckabee, with whom he plays guitar in the rock band Capitol Offense. Two other Republicans have announced, Rep. Doug Matayo (a legislative leader for Huckabee this year) and Sen. Jim Holt.
The Transportation Security Administration, which oversees the screening of the nation’s airline baggage, decided after an inspection last month to nix the longstanding pass officials at Little Rock National Airport had been giving baggage screeners regarding the wearing of neckties.
A high-ranking official with Little Rock’s TSA office said the tie rule had been overlooked at Little Rock National due to sweltering summer temperatures. No more. The official said many in the airport’s TSA contingent — numbering between 110 and 120 — are unhappy about wearing ties while lugging hundreds of bags daily.
“I’m not surprised that most of them are complaining about it,” he said. “All you have to do is spend five minutes down on the floor when it’s hot like it’s been. It’s just unbearable.”
North Little Rock City Attorney Paul Suskie IS running for the Democratic nomination for attorney general. His announcement is Aug. 15.
Golfing for dollars
The Arkansas Republican Party had a $300-a-head golf tournament and dinner last Friday in advance of a state committee meeting that grossed more than $100,000. That should net $75,000 or so for state legislative races and other uses in 2006. The event also netted several rumors. Scratch the one that said Rep. Marvin Childers of Blytheville may not be out of the Republican race for attorney general. He says his decision is still no. Another hot one: Cabot Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh, who had announced that he would NOT challenge U.S. Rep. Marion Berry, is said to be rethinking.
An opinion research firm was in the field last week with a telephone poll testing opinions about Attorney General Mike Beebe, a gubernatorial candidate, and an unknown potential Democratic candidate, Bill Halter. Halter, a Stanford Rhodes Scholar and native of North Little Rock, is in private business in Arkansas after a stint in the Clinton administration that saw him rise to acting head of Social Security. Halter has the political itch. The survey asked how people felt about the fact that he attended college outside of Arkansas. It also asked questions about potentially unpopular actions Beebe took as a legislator.
The Senate today voted 20-9 to pass Sen. Bryan King's bill that says a fourth commitment to the Arkansas Department of Correction means the person sentenced must serve at least 80 percent of the sentence before parole eligibility.
IndieWire breaks news long whispered downtown — a more ambitious successor to the Little Rock Film Festival is in the works, with backing from writer/director Jeff Nichols, a Little Rock native. His "Loving" has won wide acclaim recently.
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.