• Comment

Senate flips; first time since Reconstruction

Posted: November 7, 2012 - 9:42am
Back | Next
Sen. Jason Rapert talks with Rep. Stephen Meeks during their watch party Tuesday night. Both Republicans were elected last night. SCARLET SIMS PHOTO
Sen. Jason Rapert talks with Rep. Stephen Meeks during their watch party Tuesday night. Both Republicans were elected last night. SCARLET SIMS PHOTO

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Republicans seized control of the state Senate for the first time since Reconstruction in Tuesday's election, while also preventing Democrats from taking a majority of seats in the state House.

The GOP seized control of the Arkansas Senate, giving the party an edge it last saw during a special session in 1874. Democrats also lost control of the state House, though it wasn't known early Wednesday whether Republicans would gain enough seats to claim a majority in that chamber.

With results counted through early Wednesday, Republicans held a 50-48-1 edge over Democrats and the Green Party in the state House. One race has yet to be decided, but there's no Democrat running for that seat. It takes 51 votes to pass a bill out of the House. Former Rep. Fred Smith of Crawfordsville is returning to the House as a member of the Green Party.

Republicans Tuesday night gained a state Senate majority for the first time since Reconstruction and held a 21-13 edge with votes yet to be tallied in one race as of early Wednesday morning.

Democrats had controlled both chambers since the post-Civil War period ended in 1874.

Arkansas was the last state in the old Confederacy to never have Republicans control a legislative chamber since the post-Civil War period.

State GOP Party Chairman Doyle Webb said Tuesday he believed the results showed that voters wanted a "viable two party system" in the state.

"They want a check and balance on the Democrat Party," Webb told The Associated Press.

Democrats held a 53-46 majority in the House entering the election and Democrats in the Senate held a 20-15 majority prior to Tuesday's election.

On Tuesday, three Republican candidates whose racially charged writings surfaced this year lost out to their Democratic rivals in the House.

Republican Rep. Jon Hubbard, who called slavery a "blessing in disguise" in a 2009 book, lost to Democratic challenger Harold Copenhaver, and Democratic Rep. James McLean beat out Republican Charlie Fuqua, a candidate and former House member from Batesville who advocated the deportation of all Muslims in a 2011 self-published book.

Rep. Loy Mauch, who called Abraham Lincoln a "war criminal" in one of a series of letters to a newspaper, also lost to Democrat David Kizzia.

Republican leaders distanced themselves from the remarks by Hubbard, Mauch and Fuqua and withdrew campaign funding, but stopped short of asking the three to withdraw their candidacies. Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe called the comments "embarrassing" but said he didn't believe they represented the state or Republicans.

Hubbard also wrote that African-Americans were better off than they would have been had they not been captured and shipped to the United States. Mauch said Jesus condoned slavery.

Fuqua, who served in the Arkansas House from 1996 to 1998, wrote there is "no solution to the Muslim problem short of expelling all followers of the religion from the United States," in his book, "God's Law."

Hubbard wrote in his self-published book, "Letters To The Editor: Confessions Of A Frustrated Conservative," that "the institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise."

All three defended their writings to various media outlets and said critics had taken their comments out of context. Fuqua told the AP that his remarks were "fairly well-accepted by most people."

Smith, a former Harlem Globetrotter, became the second Green Party candidate to be elected to the state Legislature Tuesday. Smith won the state House 50 race in east Arkansas after a judge Tuesday ordered votes not to be counted for his opponent, former Democratic Rep. Hudson Hallum, who had pleaded guilty to election fraud conspiracy. There was no Republican in the race.

Smith had given up the seat in 2011 after a theft conviction, but became eligible for the seat when his conviction was set aside.

Richard Carroll, another Green Party candidate, was elected to the state House in 2008 after Democrats refused to seat Dwayne Dobbins, a former lawmaker who resigned to avoid a felony sexual assault conviction.

___

Associated Press writer Andrew DeMillo contributed to this report.

___

  • Comment
Comments (51) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
MessiahAndrw
1281
Points
MessiahAndrw 11/07/12 - 10:54 am
7
0
"Hubbard wrote in his

"Hubbard wrote in his self-published book, "Letters To The Editor: Confessions Of A Frustrated Conservative," that "the institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise.""

Ironically the Republican party was "Founded by anti-slavery activists in 1854" and two years later adopted the slogan "free labor, free land, free men". So his comments are a bit out of line.

Scarlet Sims
1976
Points
Scarlet Sims 11/07/12 - 12:03 pm
5
0
Not quite out of line

The parties actually went through a realignment of ideology in the 1960s. So, Republicans, after cementing their current platform, started gaining a stronghold in the Bible Belt, including Arkansas.

MessiahAndrw
1281
Points
MessiahAndrw 11/07/12 - 12:23 pm
7
0
Interesting - I did some

Interesting - I did some research into the background of the two major parties and saw that the Democrats use to rule the "Solid South" then for a variety of reasons turned Republican mid-century.

The two parties seem to have flipped their audience with larger cities now favoring Democrats (which were traditionally where the Republicans emerged)

Igor Rabinowitz
8826
Points
Igor Rabinowitz 11/07/12 - 01:29 pm
5
1
Also interesting

The Koch Brothers, they of John Birch fame, put a lot of their significant wealth into the social conservative Republican movement, targeting local and state elections.

It would be interesting to find which Koch-backed 527s were a factor in this turnover.

Other note:
The "Party of Lincoln" turnover was in '64 for the Goldwater campaign, where the party platform made a clear rejection of civil rights. This was designed to, and was successful as, turning over the so-called "Solid South" from segregationist Dixiecrats and moving those numbers into the Republican fold. This was successful, and a number of recent-generation old school Republicans can trace their party membership to this platform -- Strom Thurmond being one often cited.

Goldwater, by the way, wasn't crazy about the attached the social conservatives to the Republican business conservatism platform and stated thus.

lachowsj
5258
Points
lachowsj 11/09/12 - 10:39 pm
4
1
And remember

Winthrop Rockefeller was elected in 1966 when only 11% of Arkansans were registered as Republicans. Blacks flocked to his campaign, helping him to defeat avowed segregationist Justice Jim Johnson. He was a part of a traditional wing of Republicans who thought government had a major role in assuring there was a balance between business and individual interests. Rockefeller would have loved the Affordable Care Act with its reliance on competing private insurance providers, assuring that the best run and most efficient companies would be rewarded.

With Goldwater's shellacking in 1964, the thinking was that the Republicans might very well return to their progressive wing in the person of George Romney. He of course made the mistake of saying he had been "brainwashed" by generals advocating for the Vietnam War, opening the path for Richard Nixon. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Reaganesque
4414
Points
Reaganesque 11/10/12 - 08:06 am
2
3
Well.............

The Koch brothers have been demonized like no other citizen(s),except Republicans running for political office. In fact, Koch Industries employs 50,000 people in the US and provides products and services for everyone. As a company they promote a free enterprise system. They are envied by entrepreneurs.To the chagrin of libs, the owners are conservatives. Gee, how awful.

Goldwater's objection to the civil rights bill was, "It violates states rights & individual liberties".He had supported earlier versions.

BuzzBy
17777
Points
BuzzBy 11/07/12 - 01:46 pm
4
2
Well
Unpublished

I blame Mark Vaught and all the other carpet baggers.

Scarlet Sims
1976
Points
Scarlet Sims 11/07/12 - 02:47 pm
5
0
Carpetbagger

Carpetbaggers is one word. ;)

i_wonder
27122
Points
i_wonder 11/07/12 - 03:37 pm
3
5
and
Unpublished

Tea b a g g e r s is a filtered word.

What's your point?

If I'm actually bagging carpet, am I a carpetbagger or a carpet bagger?

BuzzBy
17777
Points
BuzzBy 11/08/12 - 09:10 am
3
2
I Don't See It
Unpublished

That a way
They had carpet bags or bags made of carpet so why wouldn't they be carpet baggers who combined them into one and why?

Back to Top