It's a political year, so you knew eventually the story lines would start to develop.
Cong. Mike Ross' (D) bowing out of the 2014 Governor's race has been the most exciting news of the 2012 election cycle, which says something about the tameness of this year's politics.
We haven't had a clash of the titans like the epic Blanche Lincoln-Bill Halter Senate primary of two years ago. You remember the millions of dollars in ads “thanking” Lt. Gov. Halter for those American jobs in India, or the moving van outside Sen. Lincoln's home in a suburb of Washington, D.C.
In retrospect, that was a really riveting campaign cycle.
This year, we've got a more docile electorate with the hardest hitting swings coming from Fourth District Republicans Beth Anne Rankin and Tom Cotton, who on Tuesday were debating who has raised more money from Arkansans.
Tanner Wilson, a senior at west Little Rock's Pulaski Academy, has sprouted yard sign's in his bid for “Supreme Overlord, District 17.” It was the only district with an open seat, we're told.
The Republican Party is cranking out press releases capitalizing on Pres. Obama's same-sex marriage position and a Sen. Mark Pryor (D) vote siding “with the likes of union bosses.” Democrats contend that GOP elected officials like Rep. Nate Bell (R-Mena) continue to “mislead” voters by misquoting Hitler.
On Tuesday night, this reporter caught up with Elvis Presley, the 2012 write-in candidate for Arkansas Governor. He had just suc
cessfully guessed the Wheel of Fortune puzzle before Vanna White turned the last letter.
“History professor,” he said.
It turns out Elvis is running for Lincoln Co. Judge this year as an Independent and he's awaiting the outcome of the Democratic primary between Sam Stephens and Keith Robertson to see who his general election opponent will be.
He says he's following Secretary of State Mark Martin's advice that he start smaller and “work your way up the ladder.” Instead of making records, Elvis says he's going to try to build a record.
He's still formulating his game plan for the fall, but he figures it will center on roads — “that's every county” — and industry. He sees Lincoln County in southeast Arkansas as a prime location for a car parts manufacturer.
“If you can put 200-300 jobs in your county, people will stop leaving,” he predicts.
Elvis also thinks those jobs and the extension of I-530 could bring a medical facility and some convenience stores to Lincoln County — not necessarily in that order.
This summer, he's planning fish frys and hot dog cook-offs to generate enthusiasm for his county judge candidacy. He doesn't plan to get aggressive until later in the year for fear that voters will lose interest if “you move too fast.”
As for national politics, Elvis seems to have a pretty clear picture of the scene. He says he's not for Obama, but the President is really just a “fall guy” for the nation's problems.
He's “thinking about voting for Romney,” but Congress and Senate make the laws and they're the ones who need to get their act together.
“It's just all Mickey Mouse stuff. They need to take care of the big issues,” says Elvis. “A lot less talk and a little more action. That's what politics need.”