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Insiders September 2, 2004

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Play ball The Insider stumbled on a closed-door meeting at the Little Rock Hilton last week and did a double take at the mixed political backgrounds of those present — from Gov. Mike Huckabee’s main man Rex Nelson to Huckabee’s former political opponent, Nate Coulter, with people like former Hog David Bazzel and Republican operator/talk show host Bill Vickery in between. It wasn’t a coup in the making. What it was was football. It was the organizational meeting of the Little Rock Touchdown Club, a gridiron version of the monthly Political Animals Club, where junkies get together monthly to talk about politics. The LRTD Club, modeled after clubs in other Southern cities, will meet weekly during football season to rehash and fearlessly forecast. The first meeting is Sept. 7 (a Tuesday, subsequent meetings will be on Mondays) at 11:45 a.m. and will end promptly at 1 p.m. Lingering controversies will presumably be settled in the parking lot. There’s going to be a small membership fee, about $10, for those who want to be on a mailing list. Lunch will cost $15 to cover the room at the new Hilton. Anyone who shows up and pays for lunch can sit in. Bazzel said it will be just like a radio sports shows except you’ll never have to hear anyone add, “I’ll hang up now and listen.” Former Hog Bruce James’ pithy observations on the state of Hog ball are sure to be worth the price of admission. There will be occasional guest speakers. Speaking of Bruce James: See Page 30 for our new weekly football feature, a quick Bruce James preview of the week’s Razorback game. Party time OK, you can figure why Wal-Mart, Entergy Arkansas and Stephens Inc. would throw a party at a nightclub for their homeys, the Arkansas Republican delegation to the national convention in New York. But Motorola? Simple, payola fans. Motorola, which fed the Arkie GOP delegation breakfast at the trendy W Hotel, has reaped millions installing a statewide police radio system. It also will be guiding the $45 million work on upgrading that system and expanding it to connect with local police agencies. A big chunk of money consists of federal homeland security dollars. Gov. Mike Huckabee funneled all the state’s share of the dough to the radio project, despite complaints from big-city mayors that they had security needs, too. Yes, Democrats got freebies at their Boston convention. Wal-Mart, Union Pacific and Burlington Santa Fe railroads and the Arkansas Petroleum Council sponsored one event. Breakfast was courtesy of Beverly Enterprises (the nursing home people), the AFL-CIO and Winning Connections, a political communications company. Snyder guest-stars It’s fairly unusual for a politician seeking re-election to involve himself in another candidate’s race, and even more unusual for a U.S. congressman to be active in a state representative’s race. But that’s what Vic Snyder is doing. The campaign of Steve Harrelson of Texarkana, a candidate for state representative, sent out notices this week to known Snyder supporters in Little Rock, inviting them to a fund-raiser for Harrelson in Little Rock (also unusual for a Texarkanan) at Doe’s Eat Place from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 2. The invitation says that Snyder will be a “special guest” at the event. Snyder told the Times that Harrelson, a lawyer, was an old friend and was his campaign manager in 2000. Snyder and Harrelson are both Democrats, of course. Harrelson is opposed by Greg Jones, a Republican school superintendent.

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