Top of the morning to you (belatedly, I realized it was no longer Monday, they all look about the same to me). Another slow day at the outset.
* MEDICAID FRAUD WATCH: AP's Andrew DeMillo previews the new bureaucracy — with additional employees — created by the Republican-majority legislature as one of the fig leafs to cover their decision to grab Obamacare dollars for Arkansas. It will transfer the Medicaid fraud unit out of the Department of Human Services to an independent agency, complete with new director, new legal counsel and presumably some other new costs of establishing its independency. Republicans insist this move will root out even more fraud and abuse. We're emulating Texas, see. If it's good enough for Rick Perry .... Anyway, the real test will come with the first annual report. Is the focus on the big money fraud games run by crooked providers? Or will the focus be on penny ante cases of services received by ineligible people? And will the savings be better than those already being recorded?
- IN THE FIELD: Davy Carter for governor?
* DAVY! FOR GOVERNOR
: A report has been received here of polling underway last night to sample a potential gubernatorial candidac
y by House Speaker Davy Carter
. My first expectation of the results would be that his name recognition isn't nearly so high as people who live under the Capitol dome tend to think. Conventional Republican thinking is that Carter can't win a primary against Asa Hutchinson.
But I've been saying for weeks 1) that Carter is driven; 2) that he could be the Republican Dale Bumpers, a fresh ambitious face unafraid to challenge conventional political wisdom; 3) Hutchinson doesn't enjoy universal Republican warmth, and 4) though the Northwest part of the state still drives Republican politics, the Republican vote is now statewide, with significant vote pockets all over, including the Delta from which Carter rises. I also remember what a person who's been associated in legal matters with Carter told me with utter certainty three months ago — he's running.