by Max Brantley
He said he's already consulting with a political advisor, Ruth Whitney, "to put together a team to take on Tim Griffin." His final decision should come soon and be based finally on confidence he can balance a run with family life. He has three young daughters — one 8 and 5-year-old twins.
As yet, he's the only Democrat who's even confirmed an interest in running. Naturally, he'd like to be unopposed in the Democratic primary to give attention to work to match Griffin's significant fund-raising lead. He said he's talked to other Democrats, including former Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, whom Martin trailed distantly in the 2006 primary for the office. He referred me to Halter for what he said about his potential interest in the race.
"The country needs positive leadership that will steer us in the right direction," Martin said. He made further comments emphasizing common Arkansas goals and a need to change dialogue from "things that divide." But, yes, he recognizes that an emphasis on policy differences inevitably will shape the race. It won't be about platitudes. He's not ready to talk about specific differences with Griffin just yet, however. It is hard to imagine Griffin's vote down the line with Republican leadership on budgets ruinous to many important services, including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, won't be part of that discussion.
Martin noted that he was elected to the first of two terms in the legislature on Nov. 5, 2002. This year's general election will be 10 years to the day after that.