Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., had a pre-Thanksgiving fundraiser that turned into quite a feast. On Thursday, Nov. 16, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, R-La., made the trip up north to campaign with Griffin at the Little Rock home of Bank of the Ozarks’ CEO George Gleason and his wife, Linda.
There were many other high-profile Arkansans on the host list, including Traci & Albert Braunfisch, Cathy & Hank Browne, Janett & Larry Crain, Sr., Elaine & Claiborne Deming, Susan & Herren Hickingbotham, Suzanne & Madison Murphy, Caroline & Will Rockefeller, Lisenne Rockefeller, Bill Vickery, Paula & Terry Benham, Peggy & Haskell Dickinson, Shash Goyal, Rosalyn & Harry Hastings, Kathy & Mike Rainwater, Sharon & Carl Vogelpohl, and Janice & Larry Walther.
TB&P sources learned that the event raised more than $150,000. Griffen has no announced opponent at this time.
One of the great things about partnering with Hendrix College on our polling efforts is a regular opportunity to let students design a survey for their academic purposes. Dr. Jay Barth, professor of political science at Hendrix, and a mathematics professor are currently leading a group of students in an “Engaged Citizen” class, a course examining the role of numbers in American politics.
“The students in the course designed the questions on the survey based on the variety of topics we had examined on the intersection of numbers in U.S. politics. Of course, in doing so, they were also getting experience in survey analysis, one of the most prominent ways that numbers and politics come together,” Barth said.
The statewide poll asked some thoughtful questions to Arkansans about voting rights, responsibilities and potential changes. Here are a few results:
Q. Instant Runoff Voting is being considered in several states across the country. In this system, rather than voting for one candidate, voters rank all candidates running for office with the most highly ranked candidate winning. Do you support or oppose moving to an instant runoff voting system in Arkansas?
32.7 Don’t Know
Q. Currently, in Arkansas, state elected officials including the Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State draw congressional district lines. Some believe this responsibility should be given to individuals detached from partisan politics. What group do you believe should be in control of drawing congressional district lines?
24.6% State elected officials
55.9 Independent, Non-Partisan Commission
19.5 Don’t Know
Q. At present, in 48 states, the candidate for President who gains the most votes in the state wins all of the state’s electoral votes. In two states, electoral votes are awarded based on the winning of congressional districts. A third alternative often discussed is ending the Electoral College entirely so that the winner of the presidential election is determined by the national popular vote. Which do you prefer?
39.9% Keeping the Electoral Vote as It Is
9.5 Basing the Electoral Vote on Congressional District Winners
45.2 Shifting To a National Popular Vote Winner
5.4 Don’t Know
The survey was conducted on Nov. 16, 2017 among 533 Arkansas voters. It has a margin of error of +/-4.2%. There were some other poll results that we’ll share later after student assignments are turned in. We’ve asked for more student and professor analysis down the road, too.
SEN. RAPERT TO LEAD NATIONAL INSURANCE GROUP
The National Council of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) selected Arkansas State Senator Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, to be its 2017-2018 President at its meeting in mid-November.
“I am excited to assume the NCOIL presidency and look forward to continuing to increase state legislator participation around the nation,” said Rapert. “Our organization has been a leader in educating policymakers to make informed insurance policy decisions that protect consumers and ensure a vibrant insurance marketplace in every state.”
Sen. Rapert has worked in the financial services and insurance industry, has been a member of NCOIL since November 2011, chairs the Arkansas Senate Insurance & Commerce Committee, serves on the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission and was recently named co-Legislator of the year by the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies.
Some of the topics on the group’s agenda include:
• A discussion of the risks facing the long term care insurance industry;
• Cybersecurity in the wake of the Equifax breach;
• A variety of Workers Comp issues; and
• President Trump’s Executive Order on healthcare and its impact on state healthcare markets.
Rapert is facing a Democratic challenger in 2018. Maureen Skinner has announced she’ll vie for the seat next year.
Editor’s note: ‘Notes from the Campaign Trail’ is a compilation of various political insider tidbits. It is sponsored by Campbell Ward Consulting|Communications.