You have probably heard by now about the Secretary of State communications director Alex Reed’s speech he made at a Union County Republican Committee meeting on Monday.
Reed – a Republican speaking at a Republican meeting at night while off duty – took the controversial position that county clerk offices would be better off if more Republicans were elected. Reed made the comment in reply to a question on illegal immigration. County clerks – most of whom are Democrats – did not much care for this, expressed their displeasure to Martin – who as usual denied it a bit too strong.
According to county clerks quoted at their meeting, Martin said Reed was “misquoted,” while his office says Reed was “taken out of context.” Big distinction.
A lot of focus is on this portion of Reed’s comments, but if you keep listening to the speech it actually gets more interesting towards the end when he starts talking about last year’s redistricting process and the ongoing lawsuit regarding the State Senate District currently held by Sen. Jack Crumbly.
“What they did in the re-districting process is – I’ll be honest – they went through and tried to cut out seats for people that they wanted – people that they wanted to get beat, people they wanted to draw into places that were favorable to them. And what they did was they cut up a lot of cities, they cut up a lot of blocks,” said Reed regarding the map approved by Gov. Mike Beebe and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel with Martin voting against it.
“It became a nightmare for county clerks and not just Republicans, but Democratic ones were very upset,” said Reed discussing how the districts were cut in ways that made it difficult for county clerks.
Reed was also asked about the ongoing lawsuit involving Sen. Crumbly on the reduction of minority representation in his new district, which he lost in the Democratic primary to Rep. Keith Ingram. Reed pointed out that the new Senate map reduces the number of majority-minority districts from 15 to 13, which he says is the first time in history this was done.
“Sen. Crumbly out of the West Memphis-Forrest City district is gone. He lost the Democratic primary to one of Gov. Beebe’s buddies who ran against him,” said Reed. “I heard Sen. Crumbly say on the (witness) stand that he went into the Attorney General’s office and was trying to be friendly to him and the Attorney General dismissed him – just said ‘We are not going to take care of you on this one’,” said Reed.
“Sen. Crumbly told me that he went to Gov. Beebe about it and Beebe told him ‘You’re lucky to be on the farm’,” quoted Reed causing the crowd to moan in reaction with one person asking if that is on video.
I am not sure exactly what that means, but it sounds awfully inappropriate for a Governor to say to an African-American State Senator who is an educator by profession and not a farmer, so I asked Beebe’s office about it.
“Governor Beebe never made any such statement, nor is this the first time we’ve had to refute a fabricated statement attributed to the Governor by Senator Crumbly,” said Governor’s spokesman Matt DeCample. “If Alex Reed had simply reached out to us, we could have spared him the embarrassment of being recorded spreading a lie about the Governor.”
I have also emailed Crumbly about the statement and I am trying to get a copy of Crumbly’s deposition to see exactly what he said on the stand.
Now a word on Reed. I have worked with him on several issues in his capacity as communications director and have found that he has done a great job getting me whatever I need without a partisan spin or slant.
In my opinion, he has done a good job helping to restore some trust that was deteriorating with the office. His comments in this case were partisan made at a partisan function that he attended on his own time at his own expense as was allowed by his employer. Here is hoping that he survives this.