Party Chairs Debate State Legislature, Pryor Prospects

by Talk Business & Politics staff ( 10 views 

The chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas says that the 2014 elections will be a referendum on conservative government, while his Democratic counterpart said his party will retake control of the state House of Representatives.

Arkansas GOP Chairman Doyle Webb and Democratic Party of Arkansas Chairman Will Bond appeared on the most recent edition of Capitol View.

Webb said that his party showed it could govern effectively as the GOP held majorities in both legislative chambers for the first time in 138 years.

“The people of Arkansas have seen what a real, conservative legislature is and they will expand those numbers. We will come back with a greater majority to improve greater tax reduction, more pro-life bills, greater efficiencies in government, and that will be a referendum that Republicans will gain seats in the 2014 election.”

Bond said that without the leadership of Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe the legislative session would have remained focused on divisive social issues. Bond contends that with only a 51-48 deficit in the House, the 100-member chamber is very much within reach for Democratic re-control.

“Arkansas Democrats are in a great position in 2014. The races that are set up – that are going to be open seats – we have great opportunities in and we expect to take back the House,” Bond said. “They’ve [Republicans have] made it harder to vote, harder to make decisions with your doctor. It was a very partisan session in the beginning focused on issues that divide us. It was up to Democrats who pushed and focused on health care, Big River Steel, jobs, jobs, jobs.”

Both men also weighed in on the 2014 U.S. Senate race, which pits incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor against an unannounced Republican opponent. Webb said that a strong candidate will be fielded, and he added that Pres. Barack Obama – unpopular in Arkansas – will be an albatross for Pryor in the general election.

“That race will come down to Obama-Pryor, Obama-Pryor, and it’s the Republicans that are protecting the state of Arkansas from the liberal policies of Barack Obama facilitated through Sen. Pryor,” said Webb.

Bond disagreed.

“President Obama will not be on the ballot in the mid-term elections. Sen. Pryor has always been a voice for Arkansas. His slogan has been to always put ‘Arkansas first,’ which he has done. He’s an incredible, humble public servant and right now he’s running unopposed, so I think Chairman Webb may be overstating the challenge that may be made against Sen. Pryor.”

You can view their full interview below. Also on this week’s Capitol View, Rep. Andrea Lea (R-Russellville) and Arkansas Times associate editor David Ramsey participated in a roundtable discussion. Lea and Ramsey discussed the recent debate on the “private option,” possible veto overrides of election-related laws, and post-session fatigue.

You can view their full interview below, too.