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ArkProject Debate Squad: Van Gorder vs. Breedlove

Updated: Apr 15

Republican John Van Gorder

Republican John Van Gorder

Democrat Steve Breedlove

Democrat Steve Breedlove

Let’s try something new today: The Arkansas Project is going to try out a new “Debate Squad” feature with a special focus on Arkansas legislative races. First up: Arkansas House District 67, where Democratic Rep. Steve Breedlove faces off against scrappy GOP upstart John Van Gorder.

This race saw a little action yesterday when the Sebastian County Republican Party issued a press release hitting Breedlove as being “out of touch” with District 67 voters for allegedly helping to kill the gay adoption ban in the House in 2007. You can read that release here at this blog I’ve never heard of. Says Sebastian County GOP chief Jake Files:

Steve Breedlove ran for the state House two years ago as a social conservative. But after being elected, Breedlove helped kill legislation that would have prevented homosexuals from adopting children and serving as foster parents, a measure strongly supported by the people of Arkansas and an initiated act on the ballot in November.

Breedlove threw back a little heat of his own. In a counter news release, which you can read here at the Under the Dome blog,

Breedlove explained that the vote Files refers to was a committee vote taken in the afternoon while Breedlove was on his way back to Greenwood to teach a Bible study class. “I put my responsibilities to my church first,” Breedlove commented. “My vote wouldn’t have made a difference anyway. The measure was seven votes short and never in danger of passing.”

Blogger Jason Tolbert, wanting to get to the bottom of this dispute, issued his “Tolbert Challenge,” asking both candidates to fill out voter surveys from the Arkansas Family Council and Arkansas Right to Life to detail their positions on a range of issues. (Update: Tolbert has now received responses, kind of, from both candidates, and is making the results available here.)

Now: Let’s turn it over to the debate squad. What’s the lowdown on this race? What are the local dynamics? Who will emerge victorious on election day? What should I have for lunch?

Let’s go to the comments section for debate, rumor mongering, merciless smears and other fun stuff. GOP and Democratic commenters are welcomed and encouraged to stand by your man.

Take it away, team.

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