The state Democratic Party's coordinated campaign, Victory 2006, launched its new website yesterday.
In one section, it points out that former U.S. Sen. Zell Miller never showed up in Arkansas last week for his scheduled appearance with Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson.
In a triumphant press release on July 10, the Arkansas’ Republican Party announced that Washington political double agent Zell Miller would headline an unspecified event on Friday, August 25th. “I’ve got many good friends in Arkansas, including…Asa Hutchinson, and I look forward to spending time with individuals that share my conservative views and values,” Miller said in the release. (Arkansas Times, July 10, 2006) Well, Hutchinson’s day with Zell has arrived and past, but where was Zell? Hutchinson’s spokesman David Kinkade certainly appeared excited about Miller’s visit when Dick Cheney came to town in late July. “Republicans raise money with our friends, like Rudy Giuliani, Zell Miller and Dick Cheney,” Kinkade said. (Democrat-Gazette, July 25, 2006) Maybe Zell pulled out of the event after realizing Hutchinson’s Washington-style politics didn’t go over so well in Arkansas. Or maybe Hutchinson noticed Miller’s support of Ralph Reed in Georgia didn’t help Reed avoid his defeat there. For now it will have to remain a mystery.
UPDATE: Response from Clint Reed, state Republican Party director:
“It’s not surprising that John Kerry’s political guru, Greg Hale, would try and make a conspiracy theory out of a scheduling issue. In fact, it’s rather simple: it just didn’t make sense to have Senator Miller in Arkansas four days before President Bush. Right now, it is all about maximizing our political resources. I have spoken with Senator Miller, who was extremely gracious to accommodate our needs, and we are in the process of finalizing a date.”
UPDATE II: The Democrats' gibe appears to have disappeared from its website. To quote Emily Litella: "Oh, never mind.
The item did not disappear. It was updated. And it includes this response from Victory 2006 director Greg Hale:
"I thank Mr. Reed for his transparency, albeit oddly after-the-fact. It is telling that the "political resources" he is "maximizing" are Washington connections. Talk about a contrast -- last week 68 Arkansas Sheriffs endorsed Mike Beebe for governor and the Arkansas Business and Professional Women endorsed Beebe, McDaniel, Shoffner and Daniels. Is Mr. Reed or Mr. Hutchinson really proposing a debate between Zell Miller of Washington political infamy and Arkansas Sheriffs over who should be Arkansas governor?"