When you cross the Garland County-Montgomery County line on Highway 270, you’re entering another world.
You leave the comfort of the last liquor store until you reach the state border. The Ouachita National Forest dominates the landscape leaving glimpses of feeding deer out of the corner of your eye and an occasional dead armadillo turned upside down and stiff on the roadside.
Loggers are harvesting timber on a dirt road. Flatbeds are carrying big trees to another destination. The cows are laying down in the pasture – it’s a cool mid-October day with the leaves finally turning red, orange and yellow. The guy with camouflage pants is hooking up his bass boat for an afternoon fishing outing.
As you enter Mount Ida, campaign yard signs populate business frontages and people’s homes. It’s clear who is a Democrat or Republican in the tiny town of 981. You won’t find much split-ticket voting here.
John Boozman for Senate signs are prevalent for the GOP. Beth Anne Rankin for Congress and a local Republican candidate or two might piggy-back on the big Boozman 4×6′s. Fifty yards later, a neighbor’s house is scattered with signs for Democrats Gov. Mike Beebe, Cong. Mike Ross and Lt. Gov. hopeful Shane Broadway.
Orvin Foster, a local candidate for the state house, is unafraid of his Democratic credentials. The word "Democrat" is emblazoned on every one of his signs – and there are a lot of them. His Republican challenger, Nate Bell, is well-represented, just not as prolific.
But, hey, yard signs don’t vote. If they did, this yard sign for Jesus might represent a winner for whichever race he entered.
The 30-something year old sandwich maker at a Mount Ida local deli isn’t much into politics. She says she’s "just prayin’ for some rain." Jesus under-promises and over-delivers with an early afternoon shower, the first rain since early September.
When asked what’s happening locally, the counter attendant at the local Exxon convenience store simply says, "Not much. Nothing changes around here."
The Democrats will hope that’s the case. The Republicans are in favor of some change they can believe in this year.
Talk Business contributor Suzi Parker followed the Clinton entourage this week in Arkansas. A few notes that didn’t make her final read for Politics Daily:
Reporters knew they were on the right road Wednesday in Batesville to cover Bill Clinton at an event for First Congressional candidate Chad Causey with former President Clinton. At one intersection in town, about a dozen supporters for Rick Crawford, Causey’s Republican opponent, waved signs. They were strategically and smartly placed. Clinton’s motorcade from the Batesville airport would have to pass right by them on the way to the University of Arkansas Community College.
Yes, that was Fleetwood Mac’s "Don’t StopThinking About Tomorrow" that blasted in Batesville when Bill Clinton walked on the stage. Really, could we forget 1992 if we tried? Apparently, some people may have and Arkansas Democrats particularly picked that song to remind voters of the successes of Clinton and the good times and good feelings of the early ’90′s, according to one Democrat. The song is a viable campaign tool in a season filled with anger and negativity.
Sarah Huckabee, daughter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee and campaign manager for GOP Senate nominee Cong. John Boozman, landed on a pretty notable list.
Time magazine selected her for their 40-Under-40 list, which also includes Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindall, South Carolina GOP gubernatorial nominee Nikki Haley, Florida GOP Senate contender Marco Rubio, and Democratic Governors Association executive director Nathan Daschle, the son of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.
When asked where she’ll be in 5 years, the 28-year old Huckabee replied, "I don’t know where I will be in 5 weeks let alone 5 years. But if I am still working in politics, I hope I never lose sight of why I got involved in the first place."
Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Bob Brown has authored a new book on Arkansas Governors. Defining Moments chronicles historic events that shaped 10 recent state Governors ranging from the late Sid McMath to Mike Huckabee.
Here’s a link to a recent interview where Brown talks about 3 giants of Arkansas politics: McMath, Faubus and Rockefeller.