Walmart staying out of alcohol initiative, says it didn't endorse Leslie Rutledge | Arkansas Blog

Friday, October 24, 2014

Walmart staying out of alcohol initiative, says it didn't endorse Leslie Rutledge

Posted By on Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 1:51 PM

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* ATTORNEY GENERAL'S RACE: Leslie Rutledge, the Republican nominee for attorney general, posted the message above on Twitter this morning.

I had not seen a Walmart endorsement of Rutledge, who's opposing Nate Steel, the Democrat, among others.

She has not responded to my question about the basis for her assertion.

UPDATE: Erica Jones,  the senior manager of communications for Walmart, followed up with an answer to my question late this afternoon. She said

We have not endorsed Leslie Rutledge because Walmart does not endorse candidates.

We do give money to candidates through our Walmart political action committee, however we give money equally to candidates. So both Rutledge and Nate Steel received a contribution.

She didn't have the precise contribution amount and I haven't run it down yet, but she said the amount would have been the same. "That's how we roll."

* ALCOHOL: Jones also answered a question I'd asked about Walmart's potential involvement in the proposed constitutional amendment to allow alcohol sales statewide. The company has spent heavily behind several local option petition efforts. Only one remains alive, in Saline County, where a court appeal will decide if it makes the ballot or not. Jones said, of course, that Walmart was committed to the Saline proposal if it makes the ballot.

But on the statewide measure:

We always support measures that would allow customers to have access to merchandise they want, but we are not an active participant in the statewide measure.

That's the extent of the company's comment. Some other retail chains are backing the statewide measure, mostly through social media. They may not match the spending by county line liquor stores that are fighting expansion of sales into dry counties. Political pressure has reportedly been applied to several potential retailers to stay out of the statewide alcohol battle. The county line liquor stores have spent money liberally in political races to win friends.

Kum and Go distributed the following on Twitter.

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