by Max Brantley
One more comment on Alex Reed, the Republican attack dog in residence for Secretary of State Mark Martin, featured here for telling an El Dorado Republican meeting that Republicans needed to be elected county clerks because of all the illegal immigrants (Latinos are the focus of his unhappiness) getting registered to vote on the watch of Democratic county clerks. I sent him some followup questions today:
Anything further to say today relative to the El Dorado talk?
Were you misquoted?
Were you taken out of context?
Do you have proof of illegal immigrants are registered in Arkansas?
Do you have evidence that Democratic clerks are more likely to register illegals than Republican clerks?
If not, why did you suggest Republican clerks would be better than Democratic clerks on voter registration?
Why is your focus on Latino voters? Are they the only people who try to register illegally?
Mark Myers, another Republican message machine employee of the secretary of state's office who moved onto the public teat after working for Martin's campaign, replied for Reed:
You can keep hounding us for more follow-up, but the office does not comment on what our employees do on their personal time, unless it affects the health and safety of our employees and constituents or is in direct violation of office policy.
Alex will have no further comment on this
It seems to me that voter registration affects the office's constituents and an employee's statements about shortcomings of that effort, including suggestion of misfeasance of public office by others, cover a matter of public concern. Sorry. Mark Martin and his minions will control that message, thank you. Preferably someplace a reporter's tape recorder isn't running in the future.
Being a Republican in public office means never having to say you're sorry.
UPDATE: After much back-and-forth, this issues forth from Myers:
As I have also said to multiple media, Alex's reported statements do not reflect the views of the office. To the extent some partisans want to make those statements a part of the office's comments, then we refudiate [sic] them. If somebody took the statements to be the office's position, then I apologize to them and assure them that is not the case.
Clerks are up in arms about the smear. Witness:
Alex Reed is an idiot. But, then again, so are most of his fellow employees. As a Democrat, who is also a deputy county clerk, I am infuriated by his remarks AND I cannot wait until the next county clerk's meeting we have. By the way the next meeting is scheduled for Little Rock in September. When little Mr. Martin and his staff are faced with a room full of mostly Democratic county clerks and deputy clerks, I would imagine they are going to have some 'splaining to do! I know most of the clerks well and I can assure you that they will hold his feet to the fire over this one!
... deputy and county clerks have basically had to fend for ourselves since martin took office. especially with redistricting. they only want to help us when it could affect them. that office in the past has always been wonderful to help us in any way. now, none of us even trust that office enough to call and ask questions. when we have an election question, nine times out of ten, we will call tim humphries who left that office and went to the state board of election commissioners. you call the sos office and you are told that they will have to check into it and call you back. i have waited as long as three weeks for a return phone call. it is ridiculous!
The secretary of state's office responds through Myers:
In response to the alleged deputy county clerk, you should note the Secretary of State's office helped over 40 counties with redistricting. None of the counties that used us are being sued. Several counties who chose not to use are being sued.
If your alleged employee of some county will identify himself or herself, then we will gladly document our offer to assist them with redistricting and whether that county chose to use our office or not.