Another state deals with shifting legislative control | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Another state deals with shifting legislative control

Posted By on Thu, Dec 27, 2012 at 7:57 AM

Interesting story in the New York Times about the defection of two fiscally conservative Democrats in the Washington state legislature to give Republicans a working legislative majority. Theirs was a reaction to the uncommon influence the Seattle area's population center has on state politics — conservative in rural areas, not-so-much in the city.

I don't think you could draw a parallel in Arkansas on the evolution of Washington Sen. Rodney Tom, but interesting nonetheless:

Mr. Tom, a real estate agent and a former Republican who represents a district east of Seattle, is, in his own words, fiscally conservative but “very socially liberal.” He changed parties six years ago, at least in part, he said, because of the Republican drift to the right on social issues.

He said many Republicans never forgot or forgave. They targeted him for removal in his last election, in 2010, spending more than $800,000 — a huge amount for a State Senate contest — in a failed bid to get the seat back.

In the new coalition, as it turns out, the conservative social legislation that Mr. Tom loathes will be off the table, with a relentless focus on what he called, in an interview, the “bread and butter” of the budget, job creation and education financing.

“We’re not going to turn back the clock and pass any new social legislation,” he said.

The social issues — guns, God, gays, abortion — still constitute a lodestar of Arkansas Republican politics, unfortunately. After vote suppression.

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