The primary season is almost over, but there are still some sparks flying in several races.
Here in central Arkansas, the State Senate primary between Rep. David Sanders and Rep. Ed Garner is heating up coming down the stretch. There is lots of action in this one.
The other day, I wrote about Rapert’s endorsement of Sanders, which is basically the equivalent of getting the incumbent’s endorsement.
Perhaps the hardest hitting shot of the campaign came from a mailer from the Sanders campaign that went out last week addressing some of the tax problems from Garner’s bakery business.
The mail states that Garner owes $75,302 in taxes.
“According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the state Department of Finance and Administration, Ed Garner does not pay his taxes to the State of Arkansas,” states the mail-out.
The campaign ad cites three articles from the ADG: one from May of this year, which said that Garner owes $10,500 in Unemployment Insurance Taxes to the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services; another article from February of 2009, which says that Garner owes $47,769 in sales taxes from his customers that he did not remit to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration; and a third from February of 2009, which says he failed to turn over $17,033 in income tax withholding for his employees.
These three items total the $75,302 that Sanders has in the advertisement.
Needless to say, the Garner campaign is not pleased with the advertisement and has cried foul about Sanders campaign tactics. The piece is certainly hard-hitting, especially for a primary, but everything in it is backed up by well-sourced articles. There is also no doubt that the Democrats would bring up these issues in the general election where former State Rep. Johnny Hoyt waits. And even apart from this race, the state Democratic party could seek to make this an issue for candidates across-the-board as part of a coordinated state legislative campaign.
The discussion could get interesting this Monday afternoon when both candidates are scheduled to be guests separately on KARN’s Dave Elswick show. I would expect this to be a major topic for both of them.