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Governor Beebe energizes Fullton Democrats

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Governor Mike Beebe told Fulton County Democrats that local and state candidates need help against better financed Republican rivals, as the November election approaches. [Order this photo]
The Presidential race is getting all the publicity, but Arkansas Democrats are in a fight to turn back a Republican charge, and keep their majorities in the House and Senate.

That fight brought Governor Mike Beebe and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel to Salem for a Fulton County Democratic Party rally on Saturday, Oct. 6.

McDaniel, a pilot who flew himself in, spoke early because he was keeping an eye on the unsettled weather and decided he needed to get back in the air and head home.

Republican Rep. Lori Benedict, a Fulton County resident, has said she is on the list of Republican lawmakers Democrats hope to defeat in November.

McDaniel confirmed that saying, "You've got good (Democratic) leadership here in Fulton County, but you can do a little better in Little Rock with Rep. Scott Baltz."

Baltz, a Pocahontas Democrat who is challenging Benedict, was at the rally and got a hand, in response to McDaniel's comment.

Governor Beebe arrived as McDaniel was leaving. He shook some hands and had some conversations, including one with Baltz, as County Judge Charles Willett introduced local and state candidates, who joined about 100 Fulton County Democrats at the rally, which began with a barbecue dinner.

Scott Ellington, who is taking on Republican Congressman Rick Crawford, Zac White, who is running against State Senator Missy Irvin, Senator David Wyatt, who is challenged by Linda Collins-Smith and Baltz all had a similar theme, as they made brief remarks. All said their opponents were getting help from out of state backers of Republican candidates, who are bankrolling untrue attacks against them.

"They are sending out all these slick mail outs attacking me," Wyatt said. " I think they have 17 of them. I've seen seven or eight and none of it, I mean none of it, is true."

While his opponent is well funded and getting outside help, Wyatt said he was seeking votes the old fashioned way.

"The Governor comes around and everyone comes out," Wyatt said. "I'm out trying to get votes one at a time. I've got to have some help from fellow Democrats to help set the record straight."

Governor Beebe spoke on the same topic, railing against a commercial he saw last week bought by a group called Americans for Prosperity.

"The commercial said, 'Arkansas used to be a fine place to live. Now it is going down hill.'" Beebe reported. "It said we have lost jobs, people are leaving and taxes are high. The commercial didn't trash me or Democratic candidates, it trashed Arkansas."

The Governor went on to say that, while Arkansas lost jobs during the recession, it has bounced back, and now has 27,000 more jobs than those lost in the "depths of the recession." Beebe claimed he and the legislature have been responsible for more tax cuts than at any time in Arkansas history and, by the way, Arkansas is one of only four states in the union that have maintained budget surpluses during the economic downturn.

Since blasting the commercial, Beebe claimed the people who ran it have backed down, saying they were not trashing Arkansas, just challenging it.

"Those folks are backing (Republican) opponents with mailers that aren't true," Beebe said. "The only way to beat that is for Democrats to talk to neighbors and friends. Spread the word about what's happening. Outsiders are trying to buy officials in Arkansas (with misleading ads). Tell them to go back to Virginia, because we're not for sale."

Governor Mike Beebe moved in for his first handshake when he arrived at the Fulton County Fairgrounds on Oct. 6 for a Democratic Party rally for state and local candidates.
The governor's tirade appeared to energize local Democrats, and the popular governor got a strong ovation as he stepped down, and hung around for photos and more visiting, before hitting the road for a late afternoon appearance in Cherokee Village.

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