Flying way under the Arkansas radar screen last night was the Republican primary in the Third Congressional District. That’s the seat held by John Boozman, who is now the Republican nominee for the Senate.
The Third District covers Northwest Arkansas. Repubilcans have held it since January 1967. Even Bill Clinton couldn’t win the seat when he sought it in 1974, a great year for Democrats.
Yesterday, John Womack got the most votes in the Republican primary, about 31 percent. However, I’m supporting his opponent in the run-off, Cecile Bledsoe, who captured about 13 percent. And I’ll be contributing money to her campaign, which can be accomplished at her campaign website.
There are several problems with Womack, most of which are related to the fact that he is something of a RINO. First, he supported Democrat Mike Beebe for governor in 2006. Second, he refused to sign the ATR No Tax Pledge until Dick Morris publicly shamed him at a Tax Day Tea Party rally. According to accounts, Womack then rushed to sign by the evening news and insisted that he had planned to sign all along.
Third, Womack has some goofy ideas. For example, he proposes to use federal money to build gyms for senior citizens all across the country (as a senior citizen myself, I say thanks but no thanks). It appears that Womack is also open to Medicare tax increases, opposes NAFTA, and has been squishy on repeal of ObamaCare.
Cecile Bledsoe is everything Womack is not. As a state legislator, her steadfast opposition to tax increases caused then-governor Mike Huckabee to call her, among others, a “Shiite.” That’s probably as good of an endorsement as there is. However, she has also been endorsed by Asa Hutchinson, the conservative who represented the Third District for a while, and by the Susan B. Anthony List (that’s the group to which Sarah Palin delivered her “mama grizzlies” speech last week).
Bledsoe is also strongly pro-Israel. She has expressed her across-the-board support in an emphatic position paper called “Eternal Allies: The United States and Israel.”
The big question is, can Bledsoe win the primary (if so, there’s no real doubt that she will be elected to Congress). After all, Womack outpolled her by more than 2-1 yesterday.
I believe that Womack may well be vulnerable, however. His margin last night probably was based mainly on the name recognition acquired by having served as a mayor in the district for 12 years. Despite his advantages, he wasn’t able to garner even a third of the vote.
Bledsoe spent very little on her campaign. Her goal was to make it to the run-off and then raise the money necessary to saturate the district with mail, and do some television. Her campaign thinks it can accomplish this with about $100,000.
Womack will be the favorite, I assume, even if Bledsoe raises this amount of money, but at least she will then have a decent shot. It’s worthwhile, I think, to try to keep such a safe Republican seat out of the hands of a RINO.
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