by Max Brantley
Jim Holt, the Republican senatorial candidate, is still a Republican senatorial candidate. He held a news conference a few minutes ago to say so. Statement expected shortly on what he thinks about TARP-backer and pork barreler John Boozman's entry into the race tomorrow. (Not much, we think.)
Also, from the City Wire in Fort Smith: Repubs in that area don't seem to be jumping for joy about Boozman's candidacy.
Also, Tom 'Tea Party' Cox is leaving the crowded Republican senate field, but a baseball team remains for the moment.
Need a dose of Jim Holt? Read on:
HOLT NEWS RELEASE
ROGERS, Arkansas — Republican candidate for US Senate, Jim Holt, today commented on Congressman Boozman's expected entry into the US Senate race and affirmed his commitment to winning the seat held by incumbent senator Blanche Lincoln. Holt mentioned that he is a friend of Congressman Boozman, but said the congressman's switch to another race would change nothing in terms of the Holt campaign's objectives. "If anything," Holt said, "it empowers and emboldens us even further."
Holt said that he looked forward to a healthy debate in the coming months. "John's my friend, but even if it was my own mother who voted for some of the things that John has voted for, I'd be running," Holt said lightheartedly. "But remember, it's not so much me running against John — he's decided to run against me," he added.
Holt stressed the need for voters to look at the records of the candidates. "I'm the only candidate in this race that has a proven record. Our campaign has worked hard for this moment: This is the right time, our message has always been the right message, and we have the right record," he said.
Holt expressed his concern for a recent article that referenced Congressman Boozman's support for an incremental approach to healthcare reform. The comments had been made to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette about the healthcare bill being debated in congress:
…Arkansas' [congressional] members - Democratic and Republican - agree that there could be support for some limited measures. Rep. John Boozman, …said the approach should be incremental and focus on issues that "reform the current system rather than creating a new system."
"If they took that kind of approach, they could get bipartisan support," the 3rd District congressman said. "They'd have my support."
Said Holt, "Now, when you state that you are for a more incremental approach, it's as if we're asking whether we'll head down the road to more government control at 70 miles an hour, or at 30 miles an hour. Either way, you're headed to the same place. I know the American people do not want a way to get there at a little slower pace. They want to turn this car around and get back on the path to freedom."