by Max Brantley
State Democratic Party Chair Bill Gwatney feels "somewhat betrayed" by the Dirty Dozen Democratic legislators who've thrown in for a fund-raiser for Republican Rep. Bryan King. (We reported this first yesterday.) But what's he gonna do about it? You know the answer.
I'd forgotten to mention yesterday info passed along by a NWA Republican that King's opponent, David Stoppel, is only a newly minted Democrat. Better late than never, I say. He ran for county office as a Republican 10 years ago and voted in the Republican presidential primary this year.
The moral remains, I guess, that the Arkansas legislature's actions rarely take on partisan coloration. Witness the utter failure of the Republican Party's effort to construct a roadblock to Gov. Mike Beebe's severance tax plan.
UPDATE: I'm reminded that several legislators have proposed cleaning up the speaker election system in Arkansas, typically by following other states' models. Nominees are offered by the party caucuses. Party members aren't bound not to cross over in final voting, but the party nominations make it difficult and force members to have a good reason for doing so. As it stands, Republicans in Arkansas have influence that's hugely disproportionate to their small numbers because they've formed alliances with winning candidates for leadership.