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Boozman’s civics lesson

It’s getting hard to tell that the majority rules in America these days, U.S. Rep. John Boozman, R-Rogers, said on the floor of the U.S. House today in denouncing the new health care reform bill.

Boozman, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, said this in his speech:

“Madam Speaker, America is a democracy, not a monarchy, but you wouldn’t know it by the way the American people have been ignored by President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid.”

Video of Boozman’s speech is available here.


GOP Senate candidates to debate UPDATE

Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate have been invited to a debate Tuesday night at UALR’s William H. Bowen School of Law, and most have said they will attend, according to the state Republican Party.

The debate starts at 6:30 p.m. and is sponsored by the Arkansas Federation of Young Republicans. KATV anchor Scott Inman is scheduled to moderate, and KATV plans live streaming of the debate on its Web site.

Questions for the candidates can be posted on the Young Republicans’ Facebook page, sent to their Twitter account or e-mailed to:

UPDATE: KATV reports today that it will not stream the debate live, though it plans to have a video of the debate on its Web site sometime tonight or early tomorrow. Also, the station says U.S. Rep. John Boozman will not be participating, but Sarah Huckabee, his campaign manager, will stand in for him. The other seven GOP candidates have said they will take part.


Hendren’s cash cows

The state Democratic Party is trying to make political hay out of a tweet today by Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kim Hendren.

Hendren posted on Twitter, “Had to sell 5 black angus cows to stay in the game! But we’re in to win and still have a few more cows!!!”

In a follow-up tweet, Hendren said he needed cash to pay the $12,500 filing fee.

In a release headed “Kim Hendren Bets the Farm,” state Democratic Party spokesman Gabe Holmstrom says, “Sen. Hendren may have more cows to sell left in his barn, but lots of Arkansans can’t even afford meat for the dinner table. With a voting history like his, Arkansas might be better served if Kim Hendren stayed on the farm and tended his cattle.”


Don’t ask the governor

Gov. Mike Beebe’s office says his statewide call-in shows on the Arkansas Radio Network and the Arkansas Education Television Network are going on hiatus until after the November election.

Both shows have halted production during past election seasons to avoid giving any perceived advantage to the sitting governor.


Laying low and considering options

Two potential Democratic challengers to U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s re-election bid are playing it close to the vest as the March political filing period approaches.

A campaign spokesman for Lt. Gov. Bill Halter says today nothing has changed as Halter eyes a political shift.

“The lieutenant governor continues to focus on his re-election while also considering the available options to best serve Arkansans,” says Halter campaign pitchman Bud Jackson.

Meanwhile, state Senate President Pro Tem Bob Johnson, who previously made noises about a possible U.S. Senate run, says today he is focusing on the current legislative fiscal session and intends to “lay low” for now.

“We’re talking about two subject matters: budget and lottery,” Johnson says.

The one-week filing period for political office starts March 1. The fiscal session is scheduled to recess March 2 and adjourn March 9.


Bethune endorses Griffin

Second District Republican hopeful Tim Griffin says he has the endorsement of the last Republican elected to represent Central Arkansas in Congress.

The endorsement is from Ed Bethune, who was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978 and served until 1985.

“Tim Griffin will make an outstanding congressman,” Bethune is quoted as saying in a release from Griffin’s campaign. “He is the right person to represent the common sense conservative values of the 2nd District; and, we need more veterans serving in Congress.”

Griffin, a former Karl Rove aide and interim U.S. attorney, is a major in the Army Reserve and was previously deployed to Iraq.

“I am honored to have the support and endorsement of the only person to win the Second District seat as a Republican since 1874,” Griffin said. “Congressman Bethune is well respected among conservatives in Arkansas. He is a former state party chairman, prosecutor, federal agent and a military veteran. I look forward to working with Rep. Bethune as our campaign continues to build momentum and grassroots support.”

Griffin is seeking the GOP nomination for the seat now held by U.S. Rep Vic Snyder, D-Little Rock, who recently announced he will not seek re-election. Republicans David Meeks of Conway and Scott Wallace of Little Rock also have said they will run for Snyder’s seat, along with state Sen. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock.


Beebe staying put

Gov. Mike Beebe says he’s not interested in running for anything except a second term as governor.

Talking to reporters after today’s meeting of the Little Rock Political Animals Club, Beebe said no one has asked him to run for national office. But he acknowledged recent speculation and said supporters have been calling saying they’ve heard he’s running for the U.S. Senate.

“We’re trying to quell that as fast as we can,” the governor said.

Beebe offered this during the meeting at the Governor’s Mansion: “I can tell you unequivocally I have no desire to run for any other political office. I like being the governor. I hope people will let me stay.”

The governor appeared unswayed despite rampant speculation spurred by incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s declining poll numbers and Republican gains elsewhere in the country.

“You can actually affect positively more people’s lives in a shorter period of time and with more unilateral action in this job than I suspect you can in any job except perhaps president of the United States,” Beebe said.


Lincoln campaign revving up

U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln revved up her re-election bid today, figuratively speaking, with announcement of her 2010 campaign team and campaign headquarters.

Former Lincoln congressional aide Steve Patterson is back to head the group as campaign manager, as he did in Lincoln’s previous Senate bids in 1998 and 2004.

The two-term senator says she plans to run a “positive, aggressive campaign that competes for every vote.” Her base of operations will be Little Rock’s historic Union Station.

“I realize that the national Republicans have put a target on my back so we have our work cut out for us,” Lincoln says.

Seven Republicans are seeking the GOP nomination to challenger her next year, and the party’s field is likely to grow with former state senator and 2004 Lincoln challenger Jim Holt apparently primed to make another U.S. Senate run.

Lt. Gov. Bill Halter and state Senate leader Bob Johnson may be mulling whether Lincoln is weak enough for them to challenge her in a Democratic primary. She has not fared well in recent political polls and has come under criticism for supporting the Democratic push for health care reform.

Her fight-back position includes having more than $4 million in campaign cash in the bank.


Holmstrom working for state Dems

The Democratic Party of Arkansas reports it has hired Gabe Holmstrom, former spokesman for Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, to serve as senior adviser for the 2010 campaign year.

Holmstrom will focus on the U.S. Senate race.

“I am happy to have Gabe back on the team,” state party chairman Todd Turner says in a news release. “I look forward to having him on board to ask all of the Republican Senate candidates the tough questions.”

Holmstrom, a Cabot native, has also served as executive director of the state Democratic Party and as campaign manager for U.S. Rep. Marion Berry.


Faulkner County JP eyes statewide bid

Faulkner County Justice of the Peace Jimmy Bryant tells the Log Cabin Democrat he is considering running as a Republican for secretary of state. The incumbent, Democrat Charlie Daniels, is term-limited.

Bryant is also director of archives for the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.


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