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Smart Talk, Oct. 26



Arkansas: Blue state

Hours before Asa Hutchinson walked to a lectern for his final gubernatorial debate with Mike Beebe, a leading national Republican all but conceded the race to Beebe.

It happened on CNN, in an interview by Wolf Blitzer of Mitt Romney, the Massachusetts governor who heads the Republican Governors Association. The RGA has been pumping money into statehouse races around the country, including almost $500,000 to Arkansas, at Gov. Mike Huckabee’s urging. (See related item on the Coalition for Arkansas’s Future.)

Romney said he expected Democrats to have the majority of governorships after the November elections, where Republicans now lead 28-22. Blitzer asked twice to be sure he’d heard correctly.

Said Romney: “Oh, sure. I think — I don’t think there is anyone who has looked at the poll numbers that doesn’t think that will happen. You have got states like New York and Arkansas that are blue states that have Republican governors who are retiring.” Romney, a presidential aspirant along with Gov. Mike Huckabee, apparently doesn’t think The Huckster’s support can carry the day for his party mate.

‘Independent’ expenditures

The Coalition for Arkansas’s Future, a so-called 527 organization that has made heavy TV buys criticizing Mike Beebe, has begun showing still more close connections to the Republican establishment. Surprise.

The Coalition, which got early seed money from the Arkansas Republican Party and which is headed by a former employee of Republican Party chief Clint Reed, reported to the IRS that it had taken in $541,900 in the most recent quarter — $70,000 from the state Republican Party and $450,000 from the Republican Governors Association. The Governors Association has been pumping money around hard-money contribution limits on individuals to a number of gubernatorial races still believed in reach of Republicans. Arkansas, where Asa Hutchinson trails in all published polls, is getting money courtesy of Gov. Mike Huckabee’s influence on the association.

Most of the money, $390,000, has gone into those TV ads that echo Hutchinson’s depiction of Democrat Mike Beebe as an out-of-control taxer and spender. The Coalition insists it’s nonpartisan, it’s just that no worthy Democrats have appeared to support just yet. Uh huh.

Bee in her bundt

Little Rock resident Glenda Page is one of 10 finalists in a national bundt cake contest and if she wins, she’ll be in The Martha Stewart Show’s audience Nov. 15. She earned her place in the “Bundts Across America” contest (sponsored by bundt pan maker Nordic Ware) with her recipe, “Honey Bee Good Cheesecake.” Page turns out to be something of a historian, as well. Her recipe, she tells Nordic Ware, includes honey because the bee is Arkansas’s state insect “and the state is the eighth in national honey production.” She added: “In 1864, Civil War troops fought in Clark County’s Battle of the Bees. Stings inflicted on both sides resulted in a bee victory!”

Page won $500 for the recipe. To read it, go to

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