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Walton gives and Walton takes

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The extreme views of three Republican legislative candidates — Reps. Loy Mauch of Bismarck and Jon Hubbard of Jonesboro and former Rep. Charlie Fuqua of Batesville — have gained international attention as news has spread of their writings. Slavery, immigrants and capital punishment are among the topics on which they've expressed unusual sentiments. Jesus condoned slavery, Mauch observed, for example.

The views apparently aren't cause for alarm among Republicans hoping to win a majority in the Arkansas legislature this year. Republican Party Chair Doyle Webb, appearing on the Dave Elswick Show on KARN Radio, said he expected the controversial candidates — characterized as "monkey butts" by Elswick — to win. Webb said the Republican Party believed in "freedom of conscience and freedom of speech." No belief, no matter how repugnant, is a disqualifier for Republican support if a candidate is a potential winner. Or so it seems

Jim Walton, the billionaire son of Walmart founder Sam Walton and a successful banker in his own right, does have a limit, however. He'd contributed to Loy Mauch's campaign, but asked for his $500 back after news of Mauch's views was widely circulated. Walton's support of Mauch was noted on the website of a union that has long fought Walmart on organizing issues. A spokesman for Walton volunteered a copy of Walton's letter to the Arkansas Times, not typically favored with comment from Walton, perhaps on account of the newspaper's critical views of his effort to flood Arkansas with charter schools through a more compliant legislature.

Walton wrote Mauch Oct. 22:

"I am writing to ask you to return the contribution for $500 I sent your campaign. The contribution was made because of your support for education reform in Arkansas. Since making the contribution, however, I have learned about some of your views on other issues with which I disagree. I would appreciate the return of the funds as soon as possible."

Mauch, who's written letters to Arkansas newspapers for years espousing his neo-Confederate views, sent Walton's money back, a Walton family spokesman said.

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