Category Archives: Elections

Democrats find their candidate

By Steve Brawner

© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

If you’re an Arkansas Democrat, the glass-half-empty perspective is that your candidate for governor apparently is going to be Jared Henderson, a 39-year-old political newcomer you’ve probably never heard of. That’s also the glass-half-full perspective.

It’s a glass half empty because you’d prefer someone well-known, well-liked, with money, and with a history of winning statewide races in this new political environment.

But that person’s name is Mike Beebe, and he’s term-limited. And so it’s a glass half full because the party must develop fresh faces, and the 2018 governor’s race is as good a place to start as any. Continue reading Democrats find their candidate

Why is this man so comfortable?

Asa Hutchinson
Gov. Asa Hutchinson visits with reporters Oct. 17.

By Steve Brawner

This is the part of the calendar when elected officials often are more worried about campaigning than governing. That’s not the case with Gov. Asa Hutchinson – not yet, anyway.

Hutchinson’s apparent peace of mind – with the campaigning part of his job, anyway – was reflected during an Oct. 17 sit-down with reporters. With the Republican primary half a year away, he might have used the occasion to toss red meat to the base. Instead, he talked policy. He stated his opposition to using general revenues for highways. He also offered assurances that his Arkansas Works health program would not be harmed by President Trump’s ending some subsidies for insurance companies.

That’s boring government stuff, not campaign stuff.

Why is Hutchinson so comfortable with the state of his campaign? Several reasons. Continue reading Why is this man so comfortable?

Governor Hutchinson already has a million advantages

Gov. Asa Hutchinson
Gov. Asa Hutchinson has raised more than a million dollars and still has almost $900,000 on hand.

By Steve Brawner

Advantages don’t guarantee success, but they certainly help, and so far Gov. Asa Hutchinson has more than a million of them.

Hutchinson had raised $1.3 million as of July 18 for his re-election campaign, which will be against whomever the Democrats can convince to run against him and the Libertarian candidate. He still had almost $1.2 million on hand at the time.

And the Democrats will find someone. For a political party in Arkansas to remain on the ballot without having to gather signatures, it must win 3 percent in the presidential or governor’s race, depending on which year it is. Democrats can’t do that without a candidate. The longer it takes to find one, the bigger the fundraising gap will be, unless the candidate is independently wealthy and willing to spend his or her own money. It happens, but not very often.

Continue reading Governor Hutchinson already has a million advantages

Impeachment: Be careful what you wish for

President Trump, impeachmentBy Steve Brawner

Forty percent of Arkansas respondents recently told a Talk Business & Politics/Hendrix College poll that President Trump should be impeached. For them, here are two responses: “For what?” and “Be careful what you wish for.”

The Constitution defines the conditions for impeachment, and it’s not for excessive tweeting or even fitness to serve. It’s for “treason, bribery, and high crimes and misdemeanors.” Those are high bars.

Some Trump opponents point to the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which bans officials from accepting a “present” from a foreign state without Congress’ consent. They argue that the Trump family’s business dealings are a violation. But is payment for services rendered a “present”? The clause has never been litigated in a major court case. Regardless, Congress clearly is consenting.

Continue reading Impeachment: Be careful what you wish for