We’ve done a fair job of covering developments and dynamics in all three of the hotly contested Congressional primary races in the First, Second and Third Districts, but there are a few loose ends to tie up on this final weekend of campaigning. Let’s start in reverse order.
In the Third, GOP challengers Steve Womack and Cecile Bledsoe continue their last minute flurry of activity. Womack has taken to the airwaves to defend himself from Bledsoe’s challenge of his tax record. In return, he’s taken aim at hers. And as we’ve noted, Bledsoe’s last TV ad touts her endorsements, including the high-profile Sarah Palin nod she received on Thursday.
The new development in the Third District involves the horse-trading that goes into endorsement pursuits. The only Womack public endorsement from an earlier candidate – Kurt Maddox – has an air of controversy. Our content partner, The City Wire, reports:
Maddox, the only candidate in the primary to endorse Womack, received a visit to his home by Bledsoe and one of her supporters the night prior to his endorsement of Womack.
Maddox told The City Wire that Bledsoe and one of her supporters did come to his home the evening before he endorsed Womack. He refused to comment on details of the meeting, saying he didn’t want to get “caught up in what would really be a nasty he-said-she-said” issue just a few days before the election.
“I’m just not sure I should get in the middle of this,” Maddox said.
There are allegations of a perceived threat from third-place finisher Gunner DeLay, who texted Maddox and told him, “Kurt think long and hard about your decision. I am now convinced Cecile is going to win this thing. If you come down on the losing side with a moderate you will do a great deal of damage to your future. Just be careful and prayerful.”
You can read the ensuing exchange of these moves for yourself including an interesting string of comments at this link.
Second District Democrats Joyce Elliott and Robbie Wills have taken their gloves off and are battling each other on safeguarding taxpayer dollars, prayer in public schools, and abortion. We’ve noted the mailers and commercials that have become high-profile in the last week of this June 8 run-off.
John Brummett of the Arkansas News Bureau is our guest on this week’s show. Brummett has written twice (here and here) on the Elliott-Wills match-up and, in short, says that this record-bashing is merely a prelude to the fall general election so get used to it.
On this week’s show, Brummett says GOP nominee Tim Griffin will have ample ammunition for Wills or Elliott due to the rancor of the primary run-off. "It’s easier to be highly crtiical when you can cite something said within their own party," Brummett said.
Both sides are spinning that the race is tightening up between Tim Wooldridge and Chad Causey. So much so that the assertion that the more conservative Wooldridge might switch parties if elected as a Democrat has resurfaced again. Wooldridge adamantly denies the suggestion.
But that hasn’t stopped national media outlets like Politico from focusing on this aspect of the race.
“You’ve got to question his Democratic bona fides — he has one of the most conservative voting records in the state legislature,” Causey campaign spokesman Anders Reynolds said. “I think it’s a possibility that you could see something like [a party switch] happening.”
Wooldridge has gone on the record saying he would never switch parties, but another Causey ally referred to him as a “pseudo-Republican,” noting that he opposed the federal health care reform bill and that as a state legislator he sponsored a bill to reintroduce public hanging.
On Friday, Wooldridge’s campaign called the attacks from Causey supporters “insulting."
“Tim has been a Democrat for over 20 years. He has always run as a Democrat. He has never wavered in that. What does he have to do to prove his Democratic credentials?” said Wooldridge campaign manager Tina Coggin. “Tim has unequivocally stated that, hands down, he has no intention of switching parties,” she said.
You can read the full article here and below are some links to relevant articles we’ve posted on our Talk Politics blog that we feel provide a synopsis of the over-arching debates defining the three Congressional races.