Notes from the Campaign Trail: Tucker launches ad focusing on women

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 825 views 

Second District Democratic Congressional nominee Clarke Tucker has a new ad out Tuesday (Sept. 4) that describes the women he says have impacted his life. The new TV ad, which airs on broadcast and cable across central Arkansas, features his wife, mother, grandmother, sister, niece and daughter and it is titled “Who is Clarke?”

“Clarke has a tremendous amount of respect for women. My mom and I both made sure that he does,” his sister, Kathryn, says at one point in the ad.

In 2018, female voters are expected to spike in local elections, according to many political analysts. In special elections and primary races across the country since 2016, higher than normal turnout among female voters have helped Democrats surge or win in several high profile elections.

The ad is biographical and does not mention Tucker’s opponent, Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. French Hill, who launched an ad criticizing Tucker’s voting record last week.

Tucker’s campaign is preparing a launch of another TV spot later this week, which will run in rotation with the “Who is Clarke?” ad.

Arkansans for a Strong Economy, a ballot question committee opposing a proposal to raise the minimum wage, filed a petition with the Arkansas Supreme Court on Tuesday (Sept. 4) asking that the measure be struck from the November ballot.

The Arkansas Minimum Wage measure is known as Issue 5 and would raise the state’s hourly minimum wage from the current $8.50 to $9.25 in 2019, $10 in 2020, and $11 in 2021. Secretary of State Mark Martin approved the measure in mid-August.

The lawsuit says the signatures collected by canvassers were not properly obtained.

“Arkansas law is clear about what’s required of sponsors and canvassers who gather signatures to put a measure on the ballot, and the law is clear about what all a petition must include for the signatures to be counted as valid,” said Randy Zook, chairman of Arkansans for a Strong Economy. Zook is also the CEO of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and the Associated Industries of Arkansas, two groups that lobby for state business interests.

“Simply put, the committee pushing for a minimum wage increase did not follow the law in registering all of its paid canvassers with the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office. We also found that many of the petitions and signatures counted as valid were incomplete or contained errors, and should not have been validated,” Zook added.

David Couch, who helped organize the minimum wage proposal group Arkansans for a Fair Wage, responded to the lawsuit.

“The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce speaks for big business and corporate special interests — not the health care workers, classroom aides, and waitresses who Initiative 5 will help. Arkansas voters deserve the chance to vote up or down on a wage increase this November. Arkansans for a Fair Wage will defend our petitions and the voters who signed them,” said Couch, the campaign’s legal counsel. “We are confident that we have more than enough valid signatures to remain on the ballot in November.”

The Attorney General’s race offers a contrast in priorities on the first day after Labor Day.

Republican incumbent AG Leslie Rutledge has penned an op-ed in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that touts her support for Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Rutledge, a vocal and visible supporter of President Donald Trump, argues for Kavanaugh and compliments Trump’s judicial efforts.

“Since he took office, President Trump has nominated outstanding individuals to the courts at every level and at a record pace. President Trump is doing his part to ensure our judiciary is filled with judges who will interpret the law, not invent it,” she wrote. “The president has nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. I have no doubt that if confirmed to serve on the Supreme Court, Judge Kavanaugh will continue to use his extensive legal education and experience to protect the Constitution.”

Rutledge added, “I am proud to support the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh. He has a proven record of adhering to the Constitution and the rule of law, ensuring that the liberties of all Americans are protected. In the 2016 election, President Trump promised to nominate well-qualified Americans who will faithfully interpret our Constitution as the founders wrote it, and with this nomination, the president has done just that.”

Mike Lee, Rutledge’s Democratic opponent this fall, used the day after Labor Day to file a formal ethics complaint against embattled State Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, R-Little Rock.

Lee filed a complaint with the Arkansas Ethics Commission asking for an immediate investigation with fines and referral for prosecution, if necessary. Federal authorities have already indicted Hutchinson on charges that he improperly and illegally used campaign funds for personal use.

“I’m here to represent the people of Arkansas. Candidates don’t normally do this sort of thing, but unfortunately our elected officials aren’t watching out for the people of Arkansas. They are more interested in their own political agendas,” Lee said in a statement.

“Our ethics system sits motionless in the face of corruption and immorality in the state Capitol. I’m urging the Ethics Commission to launch an investigation and to start setting this thing right. I’m excited for the results of this of this ethics complaint, and expect quick action,” Lee added.

Lee said he plans to release a series of ethics proposals for his legislative package in the coming days.

Editor’s note: ‘Notes from the Campaign Trail’ is a compilation of various political insider tidbits. It is sponsored by Campbell Ward Consulting|Communications.