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We told you the other day that the NRA had been phone-banking for state Sen. Gilbert Baker, the Conway Republican who faces a well-financed challenge from Democrat Joe White.
The White campaign is all over Baker today for the cardinal sin of gun-thumping Arkansas politicians. Baker apparently has never taken out an Arkansas fishing or hunting permit. What kind of gun nut is that?
Joe White, an NRA member, proudly boasts of owning 10 guns.
This would be some silly stuff but for the NRA's involvement and Baker's pandering to the gun nut community. We're trying to reach Sen. Baker to see if he wants to one-up White's arsenal.
UPDATE: Baker may not be a hunter, but his son is. Image above is of his son's successful hunt, appearing on an NRA circular in Baker's behalf. On the jump, White's release and Baker's response.
JOE WHITE NEWS RELEASE
The Joe White for State Senate Campaign today criticized Senator Gilbert Baker for misleading voters in a recent mailing touting Baker's NRA endorsement. A Freedom of Information Act request placed with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has revealed no records of a hunting or fishing license for Senator Gilbert Baker. The request was placed September 30, 2008 by the Joe White for State Senate campaign. The request asked "whether Gilbert Baker (born September of 1956) currently holds hunting and fishing licenses in the state of Arkansas" and "whether or not this resident has or has ever had hunting or fishing licenses in Arkansas, the dates they were obtained and the specific types of licenses." A response from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission dated October 6, 2008 revealed "there was no information pertaining to hunting or fishing licenses for Mr. Baker." The commission's response strongly indicates Senator Baker has never held a hunting license in Arkansas.
Campaign manager Alex Bissell was critical of a Baker for Senate mail piece misrepresenting the Senator's record on the issue: "Baker's mailing says he will 'promote our sportsman culture.' How can he 'promote our sportsman culture' when he appears to have no interest in it? How can someone who has never held a hunting license protect the rights of gun owners? Has Senator Baker ever been hunting? Is he even an NRA member? The fact is we don't know. This is another example where the senator's words and his actions are two different things"
Joe White is a lifelong resident of Conway, owns ten guns and has hunted and fished off and on since his youth in Faulkner County. "Arkansas is blessed with natural beauty and wildlife, and I've enjoyed the outdoors since my childhood. In fact, I'll be renewing for this year when the campaign is over," White said. "I am an NRA member and I will always fight to protect the rights of gun owners."
GILBERT BAKER RESPONSE
“Seems like I have [had a license in the past], but it’s been a long time and I couldn’t say authoritatively. I have hunted and fished before. I haven’t had a license in awhile. I haven’t had the time lately to hunt and fish.”
“My support of gun rights and hunting and fishing have been 100 percent consistent, and that’s why I got an NRA endorsement and an A+ rating, I think Joe’s rating is maybe a C+. I wish I had more time. I spend a lot of time outdoors. My boys hunt and fish.”
“The NRA is very thorough in their research, and very careful in who they endorse, and they have unequivocally endorsed one candidate in this race. Based on my record, based on who I am and what I’ve done, and there’s no question. It’s only Joe White that says I’m pandering.”