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The View from Fort Smith

Updated: Apr 15

Things have been a little slow today, because I glanced over some of the Arkansas headlines throughout the day and just saw nothing that moved me to blogging action.

However, here’s a story out of Fort Smith focusing on a pair of key legislative races up that way that’s worth a look.

Reporter Rusty Garrett of the Southwest Times Record catches a candidates’ forum in which Terry Rice (R) and Bill Walters (R Turned Opportunistic D), who are vying for the District 62 House seat, and Stephanie Malone (R) and Mike Bock (D), who are vying for the District 64 House seat, squared off on a range of issues.

If you’re looking for striking ideological differences in the candidates, you’d best look elsewhere, as these are both races where the Democrats are attempting to run more or less as Republicans on the issues.

We’ve given ample coverage to the race between Rep. Steve Breedlove (D) and challenger John Van Gorder (R) in the nearby District 67, but have not yet examined these two races. Anyone with pertinent thoughts or intelligence, lay it out in the comment section.

The Rice-Walters showdown, incidentally, is an emotionally important one for many Republicans I’ve spoken with recently. They deeply resent Walters, who previously served in the legislature as a Republican, for his flip to the Democratic side at the last minute. They’re pulling hard for a Rice victory. (I’ll note also that Walters’ wife, Shirley, currently holds the seat as a Republican. Oddly, Bill Walters’ campaign website is found at the URL, so make of that what you will.)

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