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Sunday, December 22, 2002

Flood the Zone V: Arkansas Senate Race 2002

From a news account, which is in PDF format that I can't seem to excerpt, we learn of Pryor (D) delivering an "energetic speech" attacking Republican Hutchinson's record on affirmative action and civil rights.

Hutchinson's web site had what I can only presume to be a fair and balanced account:

Pryor Hits New Low in Negative Attacks, Suggest Hutchinson was a Bigot on Civil Rights Votes
Press Release

August 2, 2002

Mark Pryor took his negative campaign to new depths Friday before the Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus in trying to suggest that Senator Tim Hutchinson was a bigot for casting votes on civil rights legislation where Hutchinson actually voted with Black lawmakers...

Pryor then said Hutchinson supported legislation that would let state employees, “choose between their birthday and Robert E. Lee’s,” for a vacation day.

That actual legislation, sponsored by former Rep. Henry Wilkins III, an African-American, changed the official date of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday to the third Monday in January. The bill was approved by a vote of 68-1 and signed into law by then Governor Clinton.

According to The Arkansas Gazette (March 16, 1985), the legislation included language so that state employees, for that year, “…could choose two of the following three holidays: Their birthday, January 15th for King's birthday or January 18th for Lee's birthday.”

“Mark Pryor’s blatant misrepresentations of my voting record have sunk from hypocrisy and distortion to outright shame,” said Hutchinson. “I am outraged that he so negatively mischaracterized my votes on civil rights and the Dr. King holiday when I voted with my African-American colleagues. Mark only said this because he knew that I would not have a chance to respond under the format that was agreed to. It’s one thing for him to continually distort my positive record on education, prescription drugs and other important issues. But, this is a new low by Mark Pryor that shows just how desperate he is.”

Hutchinson over-sensitive? Pryor speaking in code? Well, no one reports, so how to decide? But enough for now.

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