AR-02 GOP Hopefuls at 2nd Amendment RallyBoth GOP candidates for Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District seat addressed advocates for 2nd Amendment rights in Little Rock on Saturday. And even though the race looked like it might get a little heated earlier this week, neither Scott Wallace nor Tim Griffin lashed out at each other. Both Griffin and Wallace promised to stand firm in support of 2nd Amendment right, and backed up their positions with personal experience. Griffin explained to rally goers that a key component of protecting gun rights is to get conservative justices on the Supreme Court. “I spent a lot of labor and energy in 2005 to get Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed to the US Supreme Court,” said Griffin. Wallace emphasized his work in the community, especially as a reserve Pulaski County Sheriff’s Deputy. “Over the past two years, I have seized guns out of countless cars with felons in the car. Criminals have guns. And criminals will always have guns! The people who are law abiding citizens need to have protection,” proclaimed Wallace.
Earlier this week, Wallace appeared on Dave Elswick’s afternoon radio show to denounce Griffin as a Washington “insider.” Elswick opened the segment by chastising the Republican’s national organization for interfering in Arkansas’ primary, but didn’t label Griffin an insider.
Wallace used the opportunity to publicize his “Insider Bomb,” an online fundraiser similar to the models used successfully in the campaigns of Scott Brown in Massachusetts and Marco Rubio in Florida. On his website, the Little Rock businessman posted a photo of an invitation to a Washington, DC fundraiser that had ended as Elswick’s 5:00 segment began. The invitation listed the price of admission at $1000 for PACs and $500 for individuals, and Wallace later blogged that taking money from outside the district makes a candidate beholden to special interests.
Apparently, Griffin didn’t respond to the insider charges. Scrolling through his status updates on Facebook and tweets on Twitter, we couldn’t find one remark that even acknowledged the criticisms of Wallace and Elswick. But influential Arkansas political blogger Jason Tolbert of The Tolbert Report says he doesn’t “understand why Wallace is trying to make a campaign issue over his opponent’s ability to raise a lot of money and receive support from folks like Sarah Palin, Rep. John Boehner, Rep. Eric Cantor, and Rep. Pete Sessions.”
Griffin doesn’t seem to fear being tagged an insider. His reference to the work he did to help get Roberts confirmed to the Supreme Court could certainly be used by Wallace and others leery of Washington influence to confirm their arguments. But Griffin evidently considers his ties to Washington an asset, or he certainly wouldn’t be emphasizing them himself.
At the rally we caught up with David Meeks, who until only weeks ago was vying for the same office as Wallace and Griffin, and asked if he planned to endorse one or the other. Meeks withdrew only a few days after posting a status update on Facebook and a blog post charging Republicans in Washington with interfering in the Arkansas primary. But he informed us he has no intention of endorsing Wallace or Griffin. Both, he said, stand for conservative values.
Only time will tell which candidate voters in the 2nd District will choose in the Republican primary. Their position on the 2nd Amendment won’t differentiate them, but the “insider” argument might. It appears to be a major part of Wallace’s strategy, and Griffin doesn’t seem bothered enough by the label to counter it.
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