I could be wrong. But I think this issue has the danger of becoming unseemly.
Bill Halter today sent a news release listing black elected officials who support hm. Sen. Blanche Lincoln had trotted out Tracy Steele on announcement day and boasted of kind words from the NAACP.
Will Lincoln see Halter's 11 black leaders and raise him?
UPDATE: A spokesman for Lincoln says that the campaign has been told by two people on the list -- Rep. Otis Davis and Mayor Floyd Gray -- that they are not making an endorsement and that Mayor Leroy Wright of Anthonyville had said he's endorsing Lincoln. I've asked Halter's people for a response and have calls out to the putative endorsers, but havent' been able to reach any of them.
Endorsement lists are invariably rife with this sort of disputation and confusion. I brought this up in the first place not because I thought much of the endorsements but because I think totting up black endorsements and passing out money to presumed black leaders as GOTV "consultants" is a bad business. It suggests black voters aren't equipped to make their own informed decisions about elections unless someone is enlisted to herd them around. Ever heard of a candidate listing his white endorsements? Anyway. I"m going to let them fight about it.
My original thought was that Lincoln would do best to say nothing. If asked, she could point to whatever endorsements she wished and her pride in working with black constituents. And she could say, furthermore, that she would be ending the street money game. She could simply stand on her record. THAT would show respect for black voters.
I was right not to hold my breath.
HALTER NEWS RELEASE
Halter Proud to Announce the Support of Key African American Leaders
“I am honored to have support from these important local leaders.”
This morning eleven key African American leaders from around Arkansas announced their support of Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter and his run for the United States Senate. Endorsers include State Representative Otis Davis of Earle in Crittenden County, Justice of the Peace Edward Carter of Helena in Phillips County, Justice of the Peace Jimmy Fisher Sr. of Pine Bluff, Alderman Bruce Hudson of Helena-West Helena, Justice of the Peace Edward Spears of Pine Bluff in Jefferson County, Mayor Lionel Johnson of Hampton, Mayor Leroy Wright of Anthonyville in Crittenden County, Mayor Abron Pitts of Widener in St. Francis County, Mayor Floyd Gray of Dermot in Drew County, Mayor Ronnie Conley of Cotton Plant, and Vice Mayor David “DJ” Johnson of Hope in Hempstead County.
“I am grateful for these support of these fine leaders,” said Halter, “It is time that Washington got back to working for the towns they represent here in Arkansas, instead of Wall Street.”
“I support Bill Halter because he gets things done,” said Justice of the Peace Jimmy Fisher Sr. “It seems that all Washington politicians do is talk. If we elect Bill, there’s no doubt he’ll fight for all of our families.”
Mayor Ronnie Conley of Cotton Plant said, “Bill Halter has earned my support. He saw that too many people couldn’t afford college and he helped fix the problem. He came up with the scholarship lottery and worked closely with us to get it passed.” Conley continued, “Now thousands more Arkansas families can afford higher education. Name me one other politician who has put five thousand dollars back in the pockets of regular Arkansas families. You can’t.”
Alderman Bruce Hudson of Helena-West Helena focused on health care as his reason for supporting Halter “There is only one person in the race for U. S. Senate who is willing to make sure we all have access to affordable healthcare and that is Lt. Governor Bill Halter. Bill is a get it done kind of guy. He brought a health clinic to Little Rock to help the uninsured and under-insured. We can count on him to fight for real health care reform in the Senate.”
Justice of the Peace Edward Carter of Helena recalled Halter’s work on Social Security, “Bill Halter fought against George Bush’s dangerous plans to privatize Social Security. Those are the priorities he will take to the Senate.”