Today’s announcement by State Rep. Linda Collins-Smith that she is switching from the Democratic to the Republican Party gives the GOP something to crow about for awhile. My take? No big deal, she was a Republican all along.
Collins-Smith is an opportunistic politician unhappy with redistricting who formally switched parties to run for higher office. However, Smith was never a Democrat to begin with and only ran as a Democrat because it was the only way to win a House seat in Northeast Arkansas.
Collins-Smith made her announcement today in the State Capitol rotunda with various Republican officials. After making brief remarks, Collins-Smith quickly exited the press conference and ran away from the media into an elevator and refused to answer any questions. Pathetic. Why was she afraid to take questions?
Collins-Smith was a Republican all along. Back in 2007, Collins-Smith contributed $2,300 to Republican Mike Huckabee during his campaign for President. That’s no Democrat. Also, her husband, Phillip, was appointed as Circuit Judge by Mike Huckabee making her family ties to the Republican Party even stronger.
Imagine a freshman Republican House member who contributed to Barack Obama, you wouldn’t consider them a Republican. Collins-Smith was always a Republican. Her voting record in the House was purely Republican and Collins-Smith is so out-of-touch, she even voted against banning cell phone usage in school zones. Who cares about kids’ safety, right?
Another glaring red flag of Collins-Smith’s true allegiance was her serving as co-chair of the state’s American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) chapter. ALEC is an Exxon Mobil and Koch Brothers supported organization created to allow big corporations access to legislators, and provides legislators with cookie-cutter legislation designed to help their corporate interests. ALEC is an arm of the Republican Party and Collins-Smith was the state’s co-chair.
Collins-Smith is the worst kind of politician – a phony. I respect someone who runs on the Republican ticket because of philosophical principles, but I detest DINOs (Democrats in Name Only) who lack principles and only run as a Democrat to get elected.
Her claim of Arkansas Democrats leaving her and conservative principles behind is a bunch of hot air. Arkansas Democrats, especially in the State Legislature, are a moderate to very conservative bunch. Being a conservative Democrat in the General Assembly meant she was in the right place. I suspect we’ll learn that she just wants to run for political office and wasn’t happy about being placed into a House District with a Republican incumbent.
In the end, Collins-Smith is a Republican who originally ran as a Democrat just to get elected. Now that she’s switched parties, her options are limited. She can run against incumbent House Republican Lori Benedict or she can run against popular Democratic State Senator Robert Thompson in District 20.
Running against Thompson means she must fight in a solidly Democratic Senate District. Back in 2010 when the Republican tidal wave swept across Arkansas, District 20 voted for the Democratic nominees for Lt. Governor and Secretary of State, even though both of those candidates went on to lose the election. Not the best battleground for a Republican.
Linda Collins-Smith now join the ranks of State Reps. Jon Hubbard and Nate Bell as inconsequential state legislators. I’m not sorry to see a Republican leave the Democratic Party.