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Arkansans Saw 96k Political Ads Worth $41.1M

The dust has settled on the midterms and the GOP takeover that occurred in Arkansas, but more importantly, the political ads have ceased.

When it was all said and done, Arkansans were exposed to $41.1 million in ads, according to extensive research from The Center for Public Integrity.

That's 96,000 ads in all. 

It shows a big spending push on ads that ran in final weeks of the campaign. Remember that as of Oct. 24, CPI counted $33.1 million spent on 80,100 ads in Arkansas.

The U.S. Senate race — one of the most closely watched races in the country — was responsible for the majority of the money and ads. It alone flooded the airways with 65,700 ads worth $29.4 million. 

In terms of money spent, Arkansas ranked No. 8 overall, and jumped to No. 4 in terms of money spent per voter: $14. It trailed Iowa ($16), Alaska ($15) and New Hampshire ($15).

Republicans and their allies spent $15.5 million on 32,200 ads, while Democrats and their allies spent $13.9 million on 33,500 ads.

At the state-level, CPI found $11.7 million was spent on 30,300 ads, most coming from the gubernatorial race, which racked up $6.9 million worth of ads.

Republican Gov.-elect Asa Hutchinson led the way with $2.5 million spent on 6,085 ads, while his Democratic opponent Mike Ross spent $1.9 million on 4,864 ads. Races for attorney general ($2.5 million) and lieutenant governor ($1.8 million) also crossed the six-figure mark. Not far behind were two ballot issues — Issue 3 and Issue 4 — that resulted in $936,200 worth of ads.

At the national level, the numbers are staggering. U.S. Senate races saw $477.4 million spent on 1 million ads. The money was split almost down the middle, with $219.9 million from candidates and $200.4 million from outside groups. Political parties kicked in the remaining $43.3 million.

In state races, there was $855 million spent on 1.5 million ads. Candidates outspent the competition, accounting for $536.6 million, while outside groups were responsible for $199.4 million and political parties spent $116.4 million.

Overall, that's $1.3 billion spent on 2.5 million ads, according to research from CPI.

Those hoping for some political downtime might be out of luck, as the next presidential election gains more attention each day. That's not to mention U.S. senators and representatives who are already back in the fundraising mode.

Those include U.S. Sen.-elect Tom Cotton, who according to CPI sent out an invite for a Washington, D.C. fundraiser the day after he was elected. Attendance required a minimum contribution of $500.

Photos: Inside the Celebrate 10 Event at the Clinton Library

Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton and Kevin Spacey at Saturday's Celebrate 10 event on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock.

Arkansas Business' sister publication, Little Rock Soirée, went inside the star-studded celebration Saturday marking the 10th anniversary of the Clinton Presidential Library.

Called "Celebrate 10," the event was hosted by "House of Cards" actor Kevin Spacey and featured musical performances by Nick Jonas and Kool & the Gang. You can see photos from the event by Daniel Moody here.

Anniversary events continue this week, including a panel discussion at noon today at the library's Great Hall about the effects the Clinton Library has had on state and city tourism and economic development.

The panel, hosted by Fox 16's David Goins, includes Gretchen Hall, CEO of the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau; Sadie Mitchell, Little Rock School District associate superintendent for elementary schools; Bruce Moore, Little Rock city manager; Grant Tennille, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission; and Van Tilbury, 2015 chairman of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce.

You can see a full schedule of remaining anniversary events right here.

Report: Warren Stephens Connected to $31M Pebble Beach Mansion

Warren Stephens

It appears Warren Stephens, CEO of Stephens Inc. of Little Rock, is the new owner of a luxurious California home overlooking the 13th green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links in Monterey County.

There's a Pacific Ocean view, to boot.

It didn't come cheap. The Carmel Pine Cone reports a purchase price of $31.25 million. The property tax is said to be more than $315,000 a year.

The home was originally purchased in 1970 for less than $300,000, according to the paper. Previously, the home's property tax was $2,700.

"That's the biggest jump I've ever seen, and it could be the biggest ever in California," Steve Vagnini, Monterey County assessor, told the paper.

It's said to be the largest home sale price in Monterey County. The newspaper states the previous record was another Pebble Beach home, sold for $28 million.

The home, which has six bedrooms and five bathrooms, was purchased by WAS & HCS PB LLC. According to the Arkansas Secretary of State website, the LLC was formed Sept. 17 and lists the address for Stephens Inc. — 111 Center St. in Little Rock — as its address.

Obviously, Warren Stephens is a big golf fan. He's a member of the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia where his late father, Jack, was chairman. And he built his own golfer's paradise, The Alotian Club, in western Pulaski County, which boasts its own exclusive membership.

For the entire story from The Carmel Pine Cone, click here

The Washington Post: Mike Huckabee Eyeing Another White House Bid

Mike Huckabee

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee is said to be scheduling meetings with prominent GOP donors and looking for a possible campaign headquarters in Little Rock to position himself for another run at the White House in 2016, according to an article from The Washington Post on Wednesday.

The article, by political reporters Tom Hamburger and Robert Costa, said Huckabee, who ran for the country's top office in 2008, is set to lead more than 100 pastors and GOP insiders "from early primary states" on a 10-day trip overseas, including stops in Poland and England.

Huckabee is scheduled to spend part of November holding private meetings with powerful GOP financiers in Las Vegas, New York, and California, gauging their interest in being bundlers for his possible campaign and asking for pledges of five-to-six figure donations to his aligned organizations. And he is planning two strategy sessions in December, in Little Rock and Destin, Fla., new his new Gulf Coast home, to discuss timing, potential staffing, and an opening pitch to voters.

The article claims a new nonprofit advocacy group started by Huckabee, America Takes Action, has started to serve as a place of employment for his could-be political team.

Huckabee was non-committal in an interview with The Post.

"I have to be very careful about this," he told the paper, later noting his "obligations in broadcasting."

Since his unsuccessful presidential bid in 2008, Huckabee has become a hit on radio and television. He appears weekly on his own Fox News show, "Huckabee," and recently announced he will independently syndicate his three-times-daily radio report, "The Huckabee Report," which airs on more than 500 affiliates.

Bloomberg's John McCormick recently profiled the former governor and came to a conclusion similar to the Washington Post.

For the past year, Huckabee has done the things that would-be presidential candidates do: talking to party activists and donors, traveling extensively in support of 2014 congressional candidates, tossing money to some of them, and keeping his name in the mix. He's weighing whether his sunny style of social conservatism could be a good fit for a party that's showing every sign of having a wide-open-and crowded-2016 primary field.

"I'm getting a lot of encouragement from places where I didn't get it eight years ago, and that's encouraging to see and hear," Huckabee said.

Huckabee is scoring well in early polls, including various Iowa Caucus polls for possible Republican candidates. He leads in recent polls by Fox News (4 points), CNN/ORC (9 points) and USA Today/Suffolk (2 points). The Real Clear Politics Average put Huckabee ahead of other possible GOP candidates like Wisconsin U.S. Rep. and former Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

It was his win in the 2008 Iowa Caucus that propelled his presidential campaign to the national scene.

Huckabee has also found himself near the top of national polls for possible GOP candidates. The Real Clear Politics average of a handful of polls puts Huckabee just 0.5 points behind Paul, the leader.

Has Alice Walton Made Another Art Purchase?

There's been a raft of art sold in New York this week, a pair of Mark Rothko works among them. Today, two pieces by Andy Warhol go on the block.

Today, the New York Times notes speculation surrounding the new owner of one of Jasper John's "Flag" paintings, which sold Tuesday at Sotheby's. Could it be a certain art collector with a museum in northwest Arkansas?

Mark Lancaster, the British artist who had worked for Mr. Johns, was the seller. Although it was small (just shy of 12 inches by 18 inches), its rough encaustic surface — created from pigment suspended in wax — gave it a tactile quality that appealed to collectors. Four bidders went for the “Flag,” which ended up selling for $36 million, way above its high $20 million estimate.

As soon as the gavel fell, rumors started circulating about who the buyer could be. Although Sotheby’s declined to comment, some dealers said it was bought by Alice L. Walton, the Walmart heiress who founded the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark.