by Max Brantley
Arkansas Democratic Party Chair Will Bond tells me he won't be filing today for 2nd District Congress.
He said there's a chance others might file in addition to Herb Rule, the Little Rock lawyer who filed yesterday, but the party has no specific commitment from anyone else.
He said he remains optimistic about the 2nd District because of the still-prevalent Democratic inclinations of voters, particularly in Pulaski County. Incumbent Republican Rep. Tim Griffin has built a long record of voting against interests of Democratic voters, including Medicare, he said.
Bond said Jay Martin's late decision — Tuesday — not to make the race as he'd planned had caused him and several others yesterday to reconsider earlier decisions to leave the field clear for Martin. He said Rule's decision to file contributed to his decision not to run, along with the obstacles of extricating from his Little Rock law practice on short notice. He, like Martin, also has three young children, an 11-year-old and twin six-year-olds.
He spoke at some length about general optimism on Democratic filings things year for legislature and said recruited candidates had come through in most districts, with one House and one Senate exception. He said the party saw several opportunities for legislative pickups.
Herb Rule served two terms in the House (not a Senate term as I wrote originally) that ended 42 years ago. Noted: He ran as a progressive then to defeat Paul Van Dalsem, famous for the remark about keeping women barefoot and pregnant. It will be high irony to see Rule take on a Republican who's still trying to keep women pregnant by denying them contraception coverage. Where's Brownie when we need her? And George Fisher, who could draw a cartoon morphing Van Dalsem into Griffin, who shares a certain resemblance physically as well as politically.
PS — In correcting my error on the chamber in which he served, Rule provided a little history for government fans and relevance to issues today:
Actually, it was 2 terms in the House under the mentor-ship of Doug Brandon, Harry Carter, Ray Smith, Nathan Schoenfeld, Charlie Stewart and other Young Turks of that era.
And it was a Congressional mood similar to now: Rockefeller proposing much needed economic, education and government reform legislation — FOIA, Election Code, Administrative Procedure Act, AIDC and the old guarders sulling up with the commitment 'not to vote for anything Rockefeller sponsored.'
So, without rancor, by listening, and with steadfast persistence the House and Senate began the modern era of Arkansas government—approving accessible services for the elderly; upgraded treatment of the mentally ill, especially children, and legalizing kindergarten.
I would love to 'stop the bickering' in Congress and be part of a movement there that protects the future for our parents and children, without spending us into into insolvency.