by Max Brantley
How silly has the campaign become?
Consider the Republican Party, which has requested an advisory ethics opinion whether current Tim Wooldridge advertising amounts to an in-kind contribution to the Mike Beebe for Governor campaign.
The ad says: " .. Sen. Tim Wooldridge has more actual state government experience than all of the other lieutenant governor candidates combined, making him the most qualified to partner with Mike Beebe to lead Arkansas."
Mentioning Mike Beebe's name (he is the unopposed gubernatorial candidate of the party for which Wooldridge hopes to be the governor in waiting, after all) is a campaign contribution to Beebe? Forget whether any candidate would WANT Tim Wooldridge as a running mate or to have his name uttered in the same breath on his TV ads. This is simply a stretch.
But if we're wrong, and this IS a reportable contribution, then Asa! better quick whip out an amended report for that Huckabee news conference at the publicly maintained Governor's Mansion at which the governor announced his support for Hutchinson and produced quite a bit of free air time in the process for Asa! (Those were more peaceful days, when the governor still gave notice of his press events to the Arkansas Times. We were there.)
Wooldridge response on the jump.
UPDATE: Clint Reed, GOP exec. director, issues a supplemental statement:
First of all, this is not an ethics "complaint". Second, we are not being critical of the ad. Simply, we have inquired to the legality of the ad. We are all interested in playing the game and playing it fairly. Therefore, it is not a bogus complaint but merely a clarification. I realize that the ruling will not come out until after the primary; therefore, this is not a political tactic to derail any of Mr. Woolridge's misconceived momentum. At this point, I think it is safe to say that Senator Woolridge should concern himself with making it to November.
Wooldridge news release:
The Republican Party's biggest concern in the general election is a Mike Beebe/Tim Wooldridge ticket for Governor and Lt. Governor, because their combined experience serving together in the legislature will give Arkansas voters the chance to elect the most experienced Governor/Lt. Governor team in Arkansas history. The Republicans have no choice but to deal with Mike Beebe in November, and their biggest fear is that Senator Tim Wooldridge will join him on the ticket. This bogus complaint is a desperate partisan political attack in an attempt to slow the momentum of what they consider to obviously be the strongest Democratic candidate, Senator Tim Wooldridge.