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2010 Republican Senate Race Heats Up in Arkansas

Big things are happening in the Republican race for US Senate in Arkansas. Blanche Lincoln’s poll numbers are falling like a rock and even the liberal blog DailyKos is now calling on her to resign. According to The Tolbert Report though, Lincoln’s organization doesn’t seem to be making preparations to throw in the towel. Instead it appears to be digging in for what promises to be a difficult campaign. Even though three of her potential GOP challengers by double digits at this early stage, it appears Lincoln plans to gut it out.

Here’s a rundown on the GOP field as it currently stands.

Jim Holt

The already crowded field will take one more player next week when Jim Holt formally announces his candidacy. From Arkansas Watch

Former State Senator Jim Holt, who led the GOP ticket in the 2006 statewide elections, will announce his candidacy in the 2010 U.S. Senate race at a series of events to be held January 14th.

Holt took 44% of the vote in his 2004 loss to Sen. Blanche Lincoln the last time she ran for re-election. Some are tagging him the best chance to beat Lincoln after her vote for Harry Reid’s health care bill last month. That vote, combined with the general hostility to the Democrat Party, has many predicting Holt can fare much better in November than he did six years ago

Gilbert Baker

Holt’s announcement may cause some Republicans in the state to rethink their positions. Many, like Bill Vickery, have been calling for other candidates to clear out and permit State Senator Gilbert Baker to preserve his cash and energy for a general election slug fest with Senator Lincoln. Vickery says “If the Republican Party doesn’t clear the field and make Gilbert Baker the lone nominee, then we are foolish.”

Most consider Baker the favorite in the race for now though. After his first place finish in the Republican Party of Arkansas’ straw poll last month, and his double-digit lead over Lincoln in the latest Rasmussen poll, Vickery’s not the only one who’s tagging Baker the man to beat in this race.

Curtis Coleman

Though Vickery and others have placed their bets on Baker, central Arkansas businessman Curtis Coleman isn’t showing any signs of throwing in the towel. Coleman remains active on social networking sites and continues to travel the state meeting voters. He continues to hammer away at Lincoln and tackle issues on his blog and has recently added several new members to his campaign team.

Recently, Coleman announced the appointment of Matt Lagrone as his campaign’s statewide Political Director. “I am delighted to have Matt help direct our statewide grassroots efforts. He is an experienced political professional and committed conservative who wants to change the way things are done in Washington,” Coleman said. And today announced the addition of Mike Hudome as media consultant for the campaign.

Colonel Conrad Reynolds

Last month the campaign started with a flurry of press releases demanding Lincoln address several issues, including insulting comments by high ranking Democrats in Arkansas and union attack ads against Gilbert Baker which included the publicizing of his home phone number. Reynolds’ campaign demanded Lincoln abandon the secret negotiations to honor President Obama’s previous calls for transparency in the health care debate.

Then the campaign went almost silent the latter half of the month after his campaign manager, K. Ryan James, announced he was stepping down to pursue other interests. We’d seen little activity in the news and on social networking sites where Reynolds had been active.

But the Colonel informs us he simply took a little time off and has no intention of bowing out of the race. He assures us he has a busy January planned, including Joe the Plumber coming in later this month to campaign for him. Reynolds also says, “You will notice a slight shift in priorities over the next few weeks — a strategy that I believe will win me the primary.”

Fred Ramey

Fred Ramey continues to travel the state and says “We are finding that a blue-collar conservative candidate with a sincere desire to make a difference for all Arkansans is exactly what many people want.” Ramey remains convinced his blue-collar background and farming experience can beat Blanche Lincoln in the general election.

He admits he had hoped the candidate field would have narrowed by now, but says the campaign is making inroads. Not that he thinks the competition is a bad thing. In fact, he reiterates his committment to running a positive campaign and states that if the other candidates do likewise “this will strengthen the party’s hand now and in the future.”

Kim Hendren

Kim Hendren points to his lead over Lincoln in the latest Rasmussen poll and claims others show him leading the GOP primary. His committment to the race was recently demonstrated when he pumped $200,000 of his own money into the campaign. Pointing to the fact that some of the money his competition has raised cannot be used in the primary, Hendren says his campaign cash gives him the advantage.

Hendren states he’s developing a solid volunteer organization across the state, and says he’s “especially honored to have state party vice-chairman Duane Neal serving as one of my key supporters and advisers.”

He also tells us the campaign will soon announce upcoming fundraisers in Central Arkansas on February 4 and Northwest Arkansas on February 6.

Buddy Rogers

Buddy Rogers tells us he has no plans of throwing in the towel either. He’s continuing to travel the state with upcoming events scheduled across the state. Rogers says his varied background in business, health care, and the military is resonating with voters. He says he’s “gratified by increased name recognition and support as I travel the state.”

Tom Cox

We were unable to contact Tom Cox for this article, but will include an update on his campaign as soon as it’s available.

January 8, 2010 Posted by | Election 2010 | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Arkansas the NRSC’s NY-23? Not so fast.

Was it too much to hope for that the GOP might actually have learned a lesson from the disastrous turn of events in New York’s 23rd Congressional District earlier this month?  After the NRCC blew nearly a million dollars on a RINO candidate who, in the end, dropped out and endorsed her Democratic rival, you’d think leaders of the Republican Party would realize victory isn’t assured in 2010 because a candidate has an “R” beside his name.  And maybe they have.

One might even expect GOP heavyweights to recognize the grassroots’ aversion to candidates too deeply entrenched in the political establishment, especially when their adherence to conservative principles is in question.  But even if they can’t take quite that big a step at the moment, the essential lesson from NY-23 is the national party needs to step aside and let the grassroots determine their nominee.  But does that mean they can’t offer any help until a candidate is chosen?

In Arkansas, a state where Democratic Senator Mark Pryor didn’t even face a Republican challenger last year, there are already seven announced Republican candidates running for Democrat Blanche Lincoln’s Senate seat in 2010.   Only two hold political office, while the others come from a variety of backgrounds–farming, business, medicine, and military–but have never run for office. This may be the most contested Republican primary for national office in Arkansas’ history.

After Senator John Cornyn’s (R-TX) promise that the National Republican Senatorial Committee “will not spend money in a contested primary,” conservatives in the state probably assumed the national GOP hierarchy would stand aside and let Arkansans decide who would stand against Lincoln next November.  But some are wondering if Cornyn and his colleagues at the top of the GOP food chain are already working to anoint a candidate in the crowded field.

Cornyn, along with Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), David Vitter (R-LA), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) held an NRSC fundraiser last week for Arkansas State Senator Gilbert Baker in Washington and there are shouts from every corner that this reeks of the Scozzafava scenario in New York.  But Amber Wilkerson Marchand, spokeswoman for the NRSC says,   “Baker had asked to have the fundraiser at the committee’s headquarters in Washington, and that the group would allow other candidates to have events there if they asked.”

Though we’ve been unable to reach all of Baker’s opponents, we did reach Arkansas Tea Party, Inc. founder and 2010 GOP Senate candidate Tom Cox.  When asked if the committee had offered to host a similar event for his campaign he stated, “I can’t speak for the other candidates, but they [NRSC] made that offer to me.”  So it doesn’t appear they plan to anoint Baker in the Arkansas race.

It looks like the NRSC might have learned from their congressional counterpart’s costly error last month that sent Democrat Bill Owens to the US House.  They’re simply helping candidates raise much needed cash to unseat Lincoln.

Relax folks. No crisis here.

November 25, 2009 Posted by | Election 2010 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Now We’re Un-American?

According to Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), my US Senator anyway!

Is there any level so low Democrats in Washington won’t stoop to it?  Are they so conceited they actually believe themselves as they outright lie to the American people?  Do they really think the American people are so terribly stupid they can’t see through their childish, imbecilic responses to conservatives’ fact-based challenges to their agenda?

Our first hint of things to come was the Department of Homeland Security report that warned law enforcement agencies of the danger posed by virtually every conservative in the country.  Labeled “Right-Wing Extremists” in the report, conservative Republicans, Independents, and third party backers were pointed to as potential terrorists who deserved the scrutiny of local, state, and federal law enforcement officials.  Even targeting the most patriotic among us, veterans of the US armed forces, it generated the first of several conservative uprisings to challenge Obama administration policies.

We thought it bad when we found out they didn’t read the $787 billion so-called “stimulus” bill.  Then the arrogant Henry Waxman (D-CA) hired a speed reader to buzz through the Cap & Trade bill on the House Energy & Commerce committee at an unintelligible pace so that he could claim to have “read the bill.”  The move was designed to undermine an attempt by Republicans to force them to fulfill their obligations to constituents by reading the bill to fully understand what the legislation would saddle the American people with.  It was a classless, egotistical attempt by Democrats to ridicule both constituents and fellow members of the US House who demanded Democrats act responsibly and perform the duties for which they were hired.

The same Democratic legislators refused to read HR 3200, “Obamacare,” and are now paying the price.  Now that conservatives have realized their representatives refuse to do their jobs, constituents are taking the task upon themselves.  We now have a situation where ordinary citizens are taking the time to read legislation and explaining it to our elected officials.  And the Democrats don’t like it.

Their lies and talking points are no longer holding water with the American people, because they understand it better than the Congress!  Congressmen are walking into town halls and other public meetings armed with a single sheet of Pelosi-Reid talking points while their disgruntled constituents come armed with the actual text of the bill!  Backed into a corner with facts, Democrats in Washington are lashing out in desperate attempts to denigrate their own constituents.

The Obama administration has now issued a mandate to his minions to turn in neighbors, friends, and family who write and forward communications critical of Obamacare.  Not stopping there, the White House even demands “fishy” truths about Obama’s government-run health care program mentioned in casual conversations should be reported to the Propaganda Office in the White House.  Ask yourself, when have we ever faced the prospect of an American President demanding citizens turn each other in to the government for disagreeing with policy?  Never.

If that’s not enough to worry you, the President’s aides have now made direct threats to “punch back twice as hard” whenever the administration’s health care policies are challenged.  We saw this put into practice when the administration sent in union thugs to physically assault protesters outside a St. Louis town hall.  So now we have a President actively engaging in suppression of Americans’ ability to freely express their disagreement with their government.

And now we hear our own Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) has described us as un-American!  It’s funny how Democrats have no problem with protesters who demonstrate against conservatives and their causes.  According to Hillary Clinton, “we have a right to disagree with any administration.”  But I guess she meant any Republican administration.  Of course Lincoln is now backing away from her comment, but calling your constituents un-American doesn’t happen with a slip of the tongue.

She’s retreating because the heat from the fire she stoked is too hot!  Though her Arkansas colleague didn’t even face a Republican challenger last year, the GOP field to run against Lincoln has already drawn a crowd.  Arkansas State Senator Kim Hendren and Arkansas Tea Party organizer Tom Cox have already announced their intent to run, while central Arkansas businessman Curtis Coleman and State Senator Gilbert Baker are considering runs but have yet to announce.  (Although I have it from a pretty reliable source that Coleman will announce soon.)  A conservative Independent, Trevor Drown, has also announced his intent to run for Lincoln’s seat.

Lincoln’s opposition hopefuls wasted little time taking Arkansas’ senior Senator to task for her callous comment.  The Cox campaign issued the following press release:

“Since the founding of the United States people have been exercising the freedom and responsibility to question their elected representatives. The current public political debate resembles the enthusiasm of our nation’s first 100 years. A U.S. Senator referring to The People as “disrespectful” and “un-American” for calling on their Representatives is appalling. Senator Lincoln’s statements are indicative of the elitist Washington D.C. arrogance and mentality that continues to dismiss the voice of Middle America. The citizens of this country deserve honest answers to their questions.”

Coleman, who’s made numerous posts on his blog enumerating the flaws in the Democrats’ health care plan, had this to say:

“What’s sad is that Senator Lincoln apparently doesn’t value the opinions of hard-working Arkansans who took time away from their busy schedules to express their concern over losing control of their healthcare to the government. Senator Lincoln’s description of these Arkansans as ‘un-American’ illustrates how deeply out of touch she is with the American people.”

Lincoln’s planning a series of public speaking events this week (not town halls) and we hope she gets an earful from some of us un-American Right-Wing-Extremists everywhere she goes!

August 9, 2009 Posted by | Democrats | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tom Cox on 2010 Senate Race: “I intend on winning”

Several hundred patriotic Arkansans braved the 90+ degree temperatures to attend Arkansas Tea Party, Inc’s “Rally at the River” yesterday. The crowd came together to celebrate Flag Day and Arkansas’ 173rd birthday, and to let the world know “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore,” while enjoying some great speakers and entertainers, including Bob Basso (Thomas Paine on YouTube.)

Curtis Coleman and David Meeks, who’ve formed exploratory committees to run for Senate and Congress respectively, were there working the crowd.  But the biggest news was the announcement that local businessman, Tom Cox, plans to challenge Blanche Lincoln to represent Arkansas in the United States Senate.  Cox, also President and founder of Arkansas Tea Party, Inc., put an end to the speculation we’ve seen in the blogs lately, saying “I plan on winning this next United States Senate election!”  He then cast off any doubts as to whether he’s a social conservative when he stated “I am pro-life” and “In my house, we believe marriage is between a man and a woman.”

Other speakers at the event included Michael J. Nowicki–who has previously stated an interest in challenging Arkansas’ 2nd District Congressman Vic Snyder, Tim Griffin–President of Americans for Prosperity, Dave Elswick–local talk radio host, and Tim Howard–author of Justifying the Wicked, Can a Christian Support Liberalism?, and State Representative Dan Greenburg.

Photos

Volunteers receiving duty assignments

Volunteers receiving duty assignments

 

Bob Basso, aka Thomas Paine, backstage

Bob Basso, aka Thomas Paine, backstage

Bob Basso, aka Thomas Paine, fires up the crowd

Bob Basso, aka Thomas Paine, fires up the crowd

 

Crowd endures 90+ degree heat to support AR Tea Party

Crowd endures 90+ degree heat to support AR Tea Party

 

Basso has them on their feet
Basso has them on their feet
Sign says it all
Sign says it all

Protesters dress the part to call for a return to Constitutional government
Protesters dress the part to call for a return to Constitutional government

More photos

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June 16, 2009 Posted by | Election 2010 | , , , | 1 Comment

Curtis Coleman to attend AR Tea Party’s “Rally on the River”

Following up on this post from the other day, I’ve learned a little more about Curtis Coleman, who’s considering a run for Senate against Blanche Lincoln in 2010.

Coleman now has a Facebook group, Coleman for U. S. Senate, where he briefly lays out his platform.  After joining the group, I received a message thanking me and informing me that he will be attending Arkansas Tea Party, Inc.‘s Rally on the River Monday, June 15.  If you hope to meet him, he’ll be wearing a white sports jacket over a black shirt.

I’ve also had the opportunity to learn more details of Mr. Coleman’s biography, which he graciously offered in our personal correspondence.  He and his wife are active members of Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock.  Coleman teaches a Bible study class that provides meals for residents of Our House, a shelter for the working homeless in Little Rock.  He also serves as chair of the Counseling Committee for this year’s Central Arkansas Cityfest with Luis Palau, a festival to celebrate a “season of service.”  He has three children, six grandchildren, and another on the way.  “They are a large part of the reason I’m seriously considering this run for the U. S. Senate,” Coleman said.

He received an associate’s degree in religion from Central Baptist College, his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southern Arkansas University, and studied Pastoral Ministry at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, TX.   He then served as a Baptist preacher in churches in Arkansas and Texas before he began a stint as a speaker/teacher at conferences and in local churches.

In 1992, he ran Mike Huckabee’s first campaign for public office, an unsuccessful Senate race against the powerful Arkansas politician Dale Bumpers.  He left the ministry at age 45, then later, in 1999, founded Safe Foods Corporation where he continues to serve as CEO.  Coleman states, “My leadership in our company is built on Jesus’ model of servant leadership, which means that my goal for the people in our company is for them to be successful in their work and in their personal lives…this kind of leadership requires me to be their servant as well as their leader, which is the kind of leadership I plan to offer in the U.S. Senate on behalf of the people of Arkansas.”

Though the fact that he worked so long as a preacher will undoubtedly trouble those liberals who seem to want all evidence of God and religion removed from our society, this would normally play well with the same conservative Arkansans who re-elected the well known Governor Mike Huckabee–former preacher, former presidential candidate, and current Fox News host of Huckabee.

The Coleman campaign is sure to hit some turbulence though, over his divorce in 1993.  David Kincade, at The Arkansas Project, says “This probably wouldn’t be a big deal for most people, as it’s kinda common these days, but at the time Coleman was a Baptist minister.”  Sixteen years is a long time, but Kincade reports Coleman’s parishioners from way back then are still upset and angry in their emails and comments to his posts.  The Tolbert Report refers to the divorce as a possible Hutchinson problem, referring to Arkansas’ former Senator Tim Hutchinson who lost his seat to Mark Pryor in 2002, just three years after he divorced his wife and two years after he married a former aide.

When his divorce was brought up by a caller on the Dave Elswick’s talk radio show,  Coleman explained that his ex-wife was one of the first people he notified when he decided to run for office and she told him, “I think you will make a great Senator. I will support you and vote for you.”  Even the ultra-liberal Arkansas columnist Max Brantley says the divorce shouldn’t  be an issue.  He claims he’s examined all the divorce papers and sums the situation up with “… it looked like a regrettably familiar story to me. A marriage ended. New lives were begun.”  Coleman told me, “It [the divorce] clearly marks a dramatic change in my life.  It was an almost devastating experience for me – but one from which God has taught me so much about His mercy and grace!”

Will conservative Arkansans be willing to forgive and forget when they get to the ballot box?  Only time and the campaign will tell.

If Jason Tolbert’s hunch is correct, Coleman will face a challenger in the Republican primary.  Jason reports sources close to Tom Cox, founder of Arkansas Tea Party, Inc., say he is also exploring a run for Lincoln’s Senate seat and may use that group’s Rally at the River to formally announce.  Hopefully, if that’s the case, the primary won’t become a mud-slinging contest of airing opponents’ dirty laundry.  Kincade reports Lincoln already has $2.3 million in the bank for the general election campaign, and it’s almost a certainty she’ll run unopposed in the primary.

If Cox does announce at tomorrow’s event, it should be interesting having two Republican candidates introducing themselves to the public at the same event.  So if you’re interested in meeting the candidate(s) who will challenge Lincoln next year, be at Riverfront Ampitheatre in Little Rock tomorrow at 5:30 pm.

June 14, 2009 Posted by | Election 2010 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment