Posted 11/3/2012 10:43 am
Updated 7 months ago
LITTLE ROCK — Bill Clinton criticized the racially charged writings of three Republican statehouse candidates in a radio ad that began airing Friday, as Democrats relied on the former president to help prevent a GOP takeover of the Legislature in his home state.
The Arkansas Democratic Black Caucus began airing the 60-second spot in the state's 1st, 2nd and 4th congressional districts as part of a $10,000 ad buy, according to state Rep. Darrin Williams. Williams, the incoming House speaker and a member of the caucus, said he helped coordinate the ad, which is airing mainly in predominantly African-American markets and will run through Tuesday.
Though he never mentions them by name in the spot, Clinton singles out the writings of state Rep. Jon Hubbard, Rep, Loy Mauch and House hopeful Charlie Fuqua. Hubbard wrote in a self-published book that slavery was a "blessing in disguise" for African-Americans. Mauch, in letters to newspapers, defended the Confederacy and declared his belief that former President Abraham Lincoln was a war criminal. Former Rep. Charlie Fuqua, who is challenging an incumbent Democrat in east Arkansas, wrote in a self-published book that he believes all Muslims should be deported and that disobedient children must be "permanently removed" from society.
In the ad, Clinton says the writings "are not the kind of ideas that will help us create a 21st century economy in Arkansas."
"We simply can't afford to let ideology prevail over good, old-fashioned common sense," Clinton says in the spot. "The views of many Republicans here in Arkansas are out of touch with our values."
Fuqua and Hubbard did not immediately return calls Friday. A number listed for Mauch on the legislative website was not in service, and he did not immediately respond to an email. The three have defended their writings, and Hubbard later compared the state's top Democrats to Nazis for criticizing him.
The state GOP has said it will no longer contribute to their campaigns, but party leaders have stopped short of calling for them to end their candidacies. A spokesman for the state Republican Party did not immediately respond to a call or email.
Though Clinton remains popular in the state where he was born and served as governor for 12 years, the former president has not played as high-profile a role this year in the state's campaigns as in the past. A spokeswoman for the Democratic Party said she wasn't aware of any other ads Clinton has recorded for state candidates.
The party has instead relied primarily Gov. Mike Beebe, a popular two-term Democrat who was re-elected in 2010, in its fight for the Legislature. Beebe planned to headline a series of rallies Saturday in northeast Arkansas, starting in Jonesboro with Harold Copenhaver, Hubbard's Democratic challenger.
Republicans are increasingly confident that Tuesday will bring them a majority in the House and Senate for the first time since Reconstruction. Arkansas is the only former Confederate state where Democrats control the Legislature and the governor's office.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten, broadcast or distributed.)