John Brummett today recounts a meal with Republican Chair Gil Baker and UCA president Lu Hardin. The governor's race comes up. Brummett says he still dopes it as Mike Beebe's to lose. Baker offers a reasoned rebuttal. Brummett is unconvinced.
One reason, Brum writes, is that Beebe seems to be doing well in personal appeal, one of two critical factors.
The other is that if any vote-turning issue were actually to arise this fall, it would almost have to be immigration. And I can't quite see how that works to Hutchinson's benefit, since he is vulnerable, whether fairly on unfairly, to charges he didn't do his job well as deputy secretary for border enforcement in the federal Homeland Security Department.
Beyond that, he has insisted to his great credit on taking a more moderate, Bush-like stand on immigration than that of, say, his running mate, Jim Holt.
It will be difficult to galvanize a campaign around an emotional issue by insisting on fairness, reason and nuance.
It is true that Hutchinson is offering a more substantive campaign than Beebe. That's commendable. But it's also true that he's having to rely on substance in a race that may not be decided on that basis, and is doing so because he's losing the typically more decisive contests of money and cult of personality.