We’re officially now one day into the fight for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and Mike Ross and Bill Halter are already trading jabs.
Yesterday at his Little Rock stop in his announcement tour, Mike Ross threw a tough punch at Bill Halter over his scholarship promise.
Ross told reporters his thought’s on Halter’s plan:
“I think that it’s really nothing more than an empty promise. This is a guy who told us the lottery would bring in $100 million a year. It hasn’t. This is a guy who said that every child would get $20,000 in scholarship money and now I think it’s down to around $14,000 a year. And yet, somehow without raising taxes he says he’s going to find $50-$75 million in new money and do something that no other state in America has been able to do and that’s guarantee every child in Arkansas with a 2.5 grade point average a free college education. I’m not going to make promises I can’t keep because I’m planning on being the next Governor of this state.”
Ross didn’t mince words on what he thought about Halter’s proposal. It appears Ross is trying put Halter into the frame of “many big ideas, but no real results.”
Typically announcement tours are positive affairs where candidates stick to their positive message and generally avoid direct shots at the competition.
This, however, is not going to be a typical gubernatorial race. Democrats haven’t had a truly contested Democratic gubernatorial primary since 1982.
Today Halter’s campaign hit back against Ross, but on another issue. Via press release Halter’s campaign accused Ross of misleading voters about his Congressional record.
From Halter’s press release:
Yesterday Mike Ross criticized “misguided politicians” for their “divisive” policies and said that their “attacks on women and family will not work” and “don’t belong in Arkansas.”
Women will be outraged to learn that Mike Ross now claims to be their champion when his own record clearly demonstrates otherwise. The fact is Mike Ross co-sponsored with Todd Akin highly divisive legislation that sought to redefine rape and would have prevented women from obtaining important medical care.
Mike Ross spoke out against right-wing policies being promoted in the Arkansas legislature, such as defunding Planned Parenthood, and said they had no place in Arkansas. But Mike Ross’s own record includes these same votes in Washington.
It appears Halter is trying to put Ross in the frame of his “rhetoric not matching his record.”
Who’s right, who’s wrong is not the focus for today. The point is both campaigns are going for the jugular just 24 hours into the race.