Enter the black vote in governor's race; Asa plays the gay card | Arkansas Blog

Enter the black vote in governor's race; Asa plays the gay card

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TORII HUNTER: He and Asa see eye to eye on gay people marrying. Makes them uncomfortable.
  • TORII HUNTER: He and Asa see eye to eye on gay people marrying. Makes them uncomfortable.

Democratic candidate Mike Ross
hopes for an edge in the vote in black precincts Nov. 4 and he's already been airing melodic spots on "urban" radio by Sen. Linda Chesterfield (see above) in support of his candidacy. He plans a news conference tomorrow at which he'll be joined by a group of black leaders endorsing his candidacy.

Asa Hutchinson, the Republican, who once engineered a black-packing congressional redistricting plan as Arkansas Republican chair to diminish the influence of black voters in all but one Delta district (he was in league with a Democratic black legislator who later went to prison), played catchup on Ross today by releasing a radio ad by Pine Bluff native Torii Hunter, the professional baseball star.

Hunter, who sounds as if he's reading from a script, says, among others:

Asa is committed to the principles we hold dear, like a strong faith in God, equal justice for all, and keeping marriage between one man and one woman.

I'm not surprised Asa is committed to being on the wrong side of history on marriage equality.

But it's always disappointing when African-Americans take that side against marriage equality. It wasn't many years ago that people of different race were prohibited from marrying. Believers in discrimination then also claimed a religious foundation for discrimination. 

Hunter's drawn headlines for his feeling about gay people. He told the LA Times in 2012 that playing with a gay teammate would make him "uncomfortable."

How does Asa feel about working with gay people? Uncomfortable? He's not uncomfortable working with Torii Hunter. By the way, Hunter later claimed he was misquoted. Maybe he's comfortable with gay teammates today. As long as they don't get married.

I know. I've served up a home run pitch for Asa to blast into the cheap seats of Arkansas prejudice. Nobody has yet been hurt in an Arkansas election using prejudice against gay people. Someday.

Hutchinson is pretty cynical here. Gay prejudice is being used as a wedge by Republicans everywhere to cut into the Democratic black voter base. Black preachers tend to take a strong stance against same-sex marriage. Remember when Jason Rapert rounded up a group of black preachers to stand behind him on his anti-gay platform?

PS — Mike Ross opposes same sex marriage, too. But he's had the good grace not to campaign on it.


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