Political bedfellows : Rockefellers then and now | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Political bedfellows : Rockefellers then and now

Posted By on Sun, Aug 12, 2018 at 10:13 AM


An admirer of Frank Scott Jr. wanted me to know that the Little Rock mayoral candidate has tapped into old Republican money for fund-raising help. Which brings up more than one historical political connection.

Rockefeller is the widow of Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller and a frequent supporter of Republican causes, in keeping with the wealthy Arkansas family's tradition begun by Winthrop Rockefeller, the two-term Republican governor.

I'm sure Scott wouldn't mind the benefit of a pleasant association in Republican heads, given the absence of a declared Republican in the mayoral race., which is nonpartisan. Scott, a Beebe Highway Commission appointee, declares himself a Democrat. Opponent Warwick Sabin, a Democratic state representative himself put together a West Little Rock fund-raiser backed by a host of familiar Republican names. Vincent Tolliver is also a Democrat.

There's another angle here. Mayoral candidate Baker Kurrus was once a key business aide in Lt. Gov. Rockefeller's automotive and other enterprises. Kurrus left the family business shortly after Rockefeller's death when his widow assumed control of family affairs.

There's also this in the noteworthy bedfellows department. Earlier this year, Lisenne Rockefeller hosted a fund-raiser for successful Republican state Senate candidate Mark Johnson. Mark Johnson is the son of Justice Jim Johnson, whose 1966 gubernatorial campaign as a Dixiecrat against her father-in-law was an ugly affair. Johnson called Rockefeller a "Madison Avenue cowboy" and a "prissy sissy." Johnson was a strident segregationist. Rockefeller reached out to black voters, who proved important in his victory.

That was then, of course But lest you think Mark Johnson fell a great distance from the family tree he spoke in favor of equal recognition of Robert E. Lee and Martin Luther King Jr. in state holiday observances.

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