Arkansas Democrat-Gazette political columnist John Brummett was our guest on this week’s edition of Talk Business.
Brummett said the latest Talk Business-Hendrix College poll numbers from the Fourth Congressional District highlight the turmoil taking place in the Arkansas electorate.
Arkansas, which has traditionally been a conservative Democratic state in the South, is poised to elect another Republican to Congressional office.
“Nothing stands as a testament more to the seminal change in Arkansas politics than that,” Brummett said in reference to his observation that the Fourth District GOP primary is the most interesting election in Arkansas this year.
Our latest survey shows Republican Tom Cotton opening up an 18-point lead over 2010 GOP nominee Beth Anne Rankin with a little more than a week until election day.
“Most people will tell you that whoever wins this Republican primary is the favorite, the likely favorite, to be the next Congressman from south Arkansas,” Brummett said.
He argued that Democrats struggled to find a consensus candidate for the seat and a combination of an unpopular Democratic President and no major coordinated campaign effort will be problematic for Democrats in the fall.
“I don’t think it’s going to be very competitive,” Brummett said. “As I read this poll, as I read these results of the President’s position on gay marriage, as I look down there and examine the relative strength of these candidates, I just think that in their private moments even these Democrats will say, ‘Probably not. We’ve probably lost that one.’”
Brummett also offered thoughts on the subject of gay marriage, which President Obama announced his support for this week. Fourth District voters overwhelmingly oppose the President’s position.
“I think the way the President hemmed-and-hawed on that, it was untenable,” said Brummett. “It’s probably going to have to be addressed in the platform at the [national Democratic] convention, so you might as well go ahead and say it.”
Brummett said the issue highlights the differences between national attitudes on gay marriage and culturally conservative Fourth District voters.
“The gay rights movement is strong. Gallup shows nationwide that most Americans now favor gay marriage, but look in south Arkansas, regardless of party, they don’t like it. We are strongly, deeply disconnected from the curve of history and the rest of the country on this issue,” Brummett said.
You can watch his full interview below.