Democrat Joe White, who's at least causing Republican Sen. Gilbert Baker a little discomfort in his half-million-dollar effort to seek re-election to a job nominally worth $15,000 a year, adds an important reminder to the record about Baker's recently found devotion to women's rights.
It's a factual recitation of Baker's serving as a character witness for a campaign worker and Republican officeholder who'd repeatedly brutalized a woman and was subsequently convicted of kidnapping. Some supporter of women. To the jump for the details:
Conway – Yesterday, the Joe White for State Senate campaign sent information to voters setting the record straight about Gilbert Baker's commitment to women's rights and stiffer penalties for sexual predators.
Recently, Baker sent out a press release claiming the issue of women's rights is one he takes "seriously". However, in 2005 Gilbert Baker asked the 1st Division Faulkner County Circuit Court for "leniency and mercy" for a campaign worker of Baker's who repeatedly beat his female victim, held a knife to her throat, smothered her until she threw up, and using a cigarette lighter burned her multiple times.
Baker testified repeatedly as a character witness to help the defendant, also an elected Republican constable. The defendant was accused of rape, and convicted of kidnapping and assault against a Faulkner County woman. According to Circuit Court documents, Baker testified twice for the man, after knowing the horrible facts of the case and even admitted the defendant had "done wrong."
"Senator Baker's mailings and TV commercials say he supports stiffer penalties for sexual predators," said Joe White. "But the fact remains Senator Baker used the credibility of his office to do the exact opposite: he asked a court to go easy on an accused rapist convicted of assault and kidnapping because he supported Baker's political ambitions.
"Faulkner County residents deserve to know the truth about Gilbert Baker," White continued. "As a father and a strong supporter of our law enforcement community, I think it's important that the voters of Faulkner County know how Senator Baker used his position and influence to get a slap on the wrist for a violent offender even though he knew the nature and seriousness of his crimes."