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Minority Matters December 2013

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This month we'll be discussin the upcoming election year and evaluating the important political races that will help determine which party controls the state capital and possibly the U.S. Congress, and the role minority voters will play in the election. Panelist: Princella Smith - Radio Host, KARN FM; Lamar Davis - Deputy Chief of Staff, Arkansas Governor's Office; Joseph K. Wood - Deputy Secretary of State; Malcolm Glover - Reporter, KUAR.

TRANSCRIPT

HELLO AND WELCOME TO "Minority Matters" I'M YOUR HOST SYLVESTER SMITH. WHAT BETTER WAY TO CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS THAN TO SIT AROUND THE TABLE AND TALK POLITICS? THIS MONTH WE'LL BE DISCUSSING THE UPCOMING ELECTION YEAR AND EVALUATING THE IMPORTANT POLITICAL RACESES THAT WILL HELP DETERMINE WHICH PARTY CONTROLS THE STATE CAPITAL AND POSSIBLY THE U.S. CONGRESS. AND THE ROLE MINORITY VOTERS WILL PLAY IN THE ELECTION. JOINING ME ARE MR. JOSEPH K. WOOD, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE OF ARKANSAS. MR. LAMAR DAVIS, DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF FOR GOVERNOR MIKE BEEBE. AND MALCOLM GALORECTIONV FOR KUAR PUBLIC RADIO. GENTLEMEN, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME. I REALLY APPRECIATE YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME OUT. SO, AS I SAID, IT'S DECEMBER, IT'S THE HOLIDAY SEASON. THERE'S NO BETTER WAY TO ENJOY THE CHRISTMAS AND HOLIDAY SPIRIT DEBATING POLITICS, RIGHT?

RIGHT.

SO, LET'S TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING HERE IN ARKANSAS. 2014 IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER AND IT SEEMS THAT EACH ELECTION CYCLE, THE TURN AROUND IS QUICKER AND QUICKER AND THE CAMPAIGN BEGINS EARLIER AND EARLIER. WE'VE BEEN SEEING CAMPAIGN ADS FOR THE U.S. SENATE RACE FOR MONTHS NOW. SO, LET'S START AT THE TOP OF THE TICKET AND YOU GENTLEMEN GIVE ME YOUR ANALYSIS, YOUR ASSESSMENT OF THESE RACES AND WHAT YOU THINK IS GOING TO HAPPEN. AND LET'S DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT AND START WITH OUR NEUTRAL PARTY, OUR MEDIA REPRESENTATIVE. WHAT'S YOUR PREDICTION FOR THE U.S. SENATE RACE AND WHY?

YOU KNOW, FOR THE U.S. SENATE RACE, UNCERTAIN. I THINK THAT IT'S REALLY GOING TO COME DOWN TO VOTER TURNOUT. ONE OF THE THINGS -- THE PRIOR NAME IS A WELL KNOWN NAME IN THE STATE, HOWEVER, SENATOR MARK PRYOR HAS SERVED FOR A PRETTY LONG TIME ~. AND I THINK THE PETINA OF NEWNESS IS STILL ON TOM COTTON. ONE OF THE THINGS WE'VE NOTICED ACROSS ARKANSAS IS THE RESURGENCE OF THE REPUBLICAN BRAND AND THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. SO, I THINK THAT GOES TO THE BENEFIT OF TOM COTTON. AND IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE WHAT ENDS UP, WHAT ENDS UP HAPPENING. I'M STILL UNCERTAIN ABOUT HOW THAT WILL TURN OUT.

I HAVE A REALLY GOOD FEELING, MALCOLM, LAMAR IS GOING TO HELP YOU OUT HERE. [LAUGHTER]

I THINK LAMAR KNOWS EXACTLY HOW THIS RACE IS GOING TO COME OUT. SO, WHY WHY DON'T YOU TELL US, LAMAR.

I THINK IT'S EARLY IN THE RACE. I HAD THE PLEASURE OF WORKING FOR SENATOR PRYOR IN THE OFFICE IN 2003. SO, I KNOW HIM. HE'S A FRIEND. HE'S A VERY DECENT MAN. HIS FAMILY IS GREAT. AND I LOOK FOR HIM TO REASSERT HIMSELF. I THINK THE CHALLENGE THAT HE HAS AND ALL SENATORS HAVE, AND WE SAW THIS WITH LYNCH LINCOLN, WHEN YOU'RE IN WASHINGTON SO LONG IT'S HARD SOMETIMES TO RECONNECT AND COME BACK HOME IS ALWAYS A CHALLENGE. BUT GIVEN HIS FAMILY, GIVEN HIS TRADITION, GIVEN HIS NAME RECOGNITION, I THINK THAT HE'S GOING TO BE -- I THINK HE'S GOING TO DO WELL. THE ISSUE WITH TOM COTTON, I THINK, HIS EXTREME NATURE, AT LEAST SOME OF THE RHETORIC HE HAS, I THINK THE MORE ARKANSAS VOTERS DISCOVER HIS VOTING RECORD, BEING AGAINST THE FARM BILL, YOU KNOW, NOT HELPING DISASTER RELIEF, I THINK THOSE THINGS, WHEN YOU COMPARE THAT TO MARK PRYOR WHO IS A KNOWN COMMODITY, WHO IS A CONSENSUS BUILDER, WHO IS SOMEONE WHO REACHES ACROSS PARTY LINES WHEN WHO WANTS TO GET THINGS DONE, I THINK ARKANSAS VOTERS WILL IDENTIFY WITH THAI. THAT. THAT'S A TRACK RECORD. I'M PREDICTING MARK PRYOR WILL DO QUITE WELL.

WELL TURN TO YOU, JOSEPH. LAMAR BEING VERY PRAGMATIC, HE SAID THAT SENATOR PRYOR WOULD DO WELL, BUT HE STOPPED SHORT OF PREDICTING AN OUTRIGHT VICTORY. SO, BEFORE YOU GIVE YOUR PERSPECTIVE, I JUST WANT TO MAKE IT CLEAR YOU WORK IN THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE AND THE SECRETARY DOES MANAGE ELECTIONS IN ARK A, BUT YOU'RE HERE SHARING YOUR PERPAL OPINION ABOUT THESE MATTERS. SO, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE U.S. SENATE RACE?

WELL, AGAIN, ONE, THANKS FOR HAVING US HERE. BUT MALCOLM MADE A COMMENT. YOUR POINT WAS EIGHT YEARS. THERE'S BEEN QUITE A RIDE FOR MARK PRYOR, SENATOR PRYOR HERE. AND THINKING OF WHEN SENATOR LANCE LINCOLN WAS UP FOR ELECTION AGAIN, I THINK THERE IS A FATIGUE THAT HAS SET. WHEN THERE IS THAT MUCH UNREST IN D.C., THE POPULACE, THE GENERAL POPULACE STARTS THINKING ABOUT TERM LIMITS AND WHEN PEOPLE START TURNING CYCLES AND GOING OUT AND START DOING OTHER WORK. I THINK THERE IS WHERE TOM COTTON STARTS TO SHINE. THERE IS A NEWNESS TO HIS RUNNING, BEING NEW TO D.C., BUT I ALSO THINK HE'S AGGRESSIVELY JUMPED IN. THERE'S A LARGE FOLLOWING. AND THEN THERE'S A GEOGRAPHICAL, HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHICAL PIECE THAT HAS TO FALL IN PLAY WHERE SENATOR PRYOR IS GOING TO BE STRONGEST, THOSE POPULATION SEATS ACROSS THE STATE HAVE STARTED TO SHIFT AND MOVE TO MORE OF THOSE AREAS WHERE TOM COTTON IS STRONGER. 3RD DISTRICT, SOME PARTS OF THE 4TH DISTRICT. SO, ANYWAY, MY PREDICTION WILL BE THAT SENATOR PRYOR WILL CONTINUE ON THE MARGIN THAT HE'S IN NOW WITH POLLING. I THINK HE'S JUST GOING TO CONTINUE AT THAT PACE. IN PARTICULAR, SOME OF THE ISSUES THAT ARE STILL PLAGUING D.C. WITH SPENDING, HEALTH CARE, ET CETERA, SENATOR PRYOR WILL CONTINUE TO BE KIND OF PUT IN THAT -- HE WILL BE OVERSHADOWED BY SOME OF THOSE DYNAMICS. HE'LL BE PART OF THAT, SO --

YOU KNOW, THIS IS VERY INTERESTING. YOU GENTLEMEN ARE ALL THREE HERE TO HELP US MAKE PREDICTIONS ABOUT THESE RACES AND NO ONE HAS MADE A PREDICTION ABOUT THE SENATE RACE. SO, MY THOUGHTS ON IT, THAT IT'S GOING TO BE AN EXTREMELY TIGHT RACE, THAT THE PRYOR BRAND AS HAS BEEN SAID, VERY STRONG. BUT SENATOR PRYOR, I THINK THERE ARE SOME ISSUES THAT HE HAS AND I'D LIKE TO REALLY TALK ABOUT THESE CANDIDATES AND THEIR ASSETS AND LIGHTCTIONTION. ONE OF THE PROBLEMS SENATOR PRYOR HAS IS MAINTAINING SUPPORT IN THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY. LAMAR, YOU'RE AN ATTORNEY AND I KNOW YOU'RE ACTIVE IN THE HAROLD FLOWERS LAW SOCIETY. THERE ARE CERTAIN MEMBERS OF THE SOCIETY WHERE THAT GROUP HAS BEEN A STAUNCH DEMOCRATIC GROUP WHO HAVE SERIOUS ISSUES WITH SENATOR PRYOR BECAUSE OF THE LACK OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN JUDICIAL NOMINEES THAT HAVE COME OUT OF HIS OFFICE. AND I THINK THAT IS GOING TO BE A FISSURE THAT IF THOSE FOLKS DECIDE THEY WANT TO BE VOCAL CAN CREATE VULNERABILITIES FOR HIM IN THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THAT?

I MENTIONED RECONNECTING BEFORE. SENATOR PRYOR HAS A CHANCE TO RECONNECT AND ESTABLISH HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY. AS IT RELATES TO JUDICIAL NOMINEES, I THINK ACROSS THE BOARD ARKANSAS'S DELEGATION COULD DO AND SHOULD DO A BETTER JOB. I DON'T THINK IT'S LIMITED TO SENATOR PRYOR OR ANYONE ELSE. I THINK THAT WE, YOU KNOW, HAVE TO BE SERIOUS WITH THE FACT THAT IF YOU WANT JUDICIAL CANDIDATES WHO LOOK LIKE AMERICA, THEN, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE TO PUSH OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS TO DO THAT. SO, I APPLAUD THE HOWARDV FLOWERS ASSOCIATION FOR TAKING A STRONG STANCE IN PROMOTING THAT. HAVING A RELATIONSHIP WITH SENATOR PRYOR WILL TELL YOU THAT HE'S VERY FAIR. HE'S VERY HONEST. HE'S VERY BALANCED AND HE'S OPEN TO QUALIFYING JUDICIAL NOMINEES NO MATTER WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE. BUT I THINK, YOU KNOW, AND WE HAVE TO -- I GUESS WE'LL TALK NATIONAL POLITICS AT SOME POINT -- YOU'VE GOT TO GAYTIONVER YOUR SUCCESS. AND WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHO CONTROLS THE HOUSE AND THE ISSUES THEY'VE HAD IN THE SENATE, SOMETIMES THAT COLORS THE NOMINEES THAT YOU SELECT AND AT SOME POINT I GUESS WE'LL TALK ABOUT THE NATIONAL POLITICS AND THE NO'S THAT CAN COME FROM THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

HOLD ON NOW, BECAUSE IN AN EFFORT TO BE FAIR --

THAT'S RIGHT.

-- I CERTAINLY WANT JOSEPH TO RESPOND TO THIS. THE WAY THIS WORKS IS IF YOU ARE A DEMOCRAT PRESIDENT, THEN THE SENIOR DEMOCRAT SENATOR CONTROLS THE NOMINATION PROCESS IN YOUR STATE. SENATOR PRYOR IS THE ONLY SENATOR THAT HAS INPUT IN THE PROCESS NOW. GO AHEAD AND MAKE THAT POINT.

BRIEFLY ON THE NATIONAL, YOU'RE EXACTLY RIGHT. REPUBLICANS DO MANAGE -- RUN THE HOUSE, SO, THE JURISDICTION OVER LAWS AND BILLS COME FROM OUT OF THAT BODY. BUT PRIOR TO THE REPUBLICANS HAVING THAT HOUSE, THE DEMOCRATS HAD IT AND THEY HAD IT WHEN THE PRESIDENT WENT IN. SO, IF SENATOR PRYOR WAS GOING TO MAKE SOME OF THESE HEADWAYS IN ARKANSAS, HE HAD THAT OPPORTUNITY, HE HE HAD EIGHT YEARS, AGAIN, SO SOME OF THE GROUNDS IN THIS RECONNECTING OVER EIGHT-YEAR PERIOD OF TIME, THAT'S ON HIM, HIS CAMPAIGN, AND THE PARTY, DEMOCRAT PARTY IN ARKANSAS. SO, SOME OF THIS RECONNECTING SHOULD HAVE BEEN HAPPENING IN NOT JUST ELECTION TIME. SO, I THINK THAT BECOMES A WIN FOR TOM COTTON. HE HAS NOT BEEN IN THAT SPACE THAT THE SENATOR IS IN, SO, HE HE HAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO REACH TO ALL THESE PARTICULAR AREAS, IN PARTICULAR THE BLACK COMMUNITY AND OTHER COMMUNITIES AS A SENATOR, SENATORIAL CANDIDATE WHEREAS MARK PRYOR, SENATOR PRYOR HAS BEEN IN THAT SPACE, SHOULD HAVE BEEN, COULD HAVE BEEN AS OPPOSED TO NOW GOING BACK AND SAYING, HEY, LET ME DO THIS AGAIN, IT'S ELECTION TIME. THAT'S HOW MOST PEOPLE CAN SEE THAT, ELECTION TIME.

I WOULD LOVE TO SEE A COMPARISON BETWEEN CONGRESSMAN TOM COTTON AND SENATOR PRYOR IN TERMS OF WHERE THEY STACK ON ISSUES RELATED TO AFRICAN AMERICANS. IF THAT'S SAY DEBATE WE WANT TO HAVE, I'M FULLY CONFIDENT THAT SENATOR PRYOR WOULD BE HEADS ABOVE TOM COTTON ON ISSUES THAT ARE IMPORTANT --

WOULD IT BE APPLE TO APPLE, THOUGH, OR APPLE TO ORANGE? IF YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT CONGRESS VERSUS A SENATOR AND A LONG-TERM SENATOR VERSUS A SHORT-TERM FIRST TERM CONGRESSMAN. I DON'T KNOW IF YOU CAN MEASURE THAT THE SAME WAY. AND IT WOULD BE REALLY APPLICABLE. I JUST DON'T --

WELL, YOU KNOW, I'D LOVE TO HEAR MALCOLM'S THOUGHTS ON THIS. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO MOVE ON AND TALK ABOUT SOME OTHER RACES. WHAT I GUESS I WILL CHALLENGE YOU FURTHER TO LAMAR'S POINT BECAUSE THERE ARE SOME ISSUES THAT CONGRESSMAN COTTON HAS TAKEN A STAMPED ON THAT DO IMPACT AT LEAST SOME PEOPLE IN THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY. THERE ARE -- THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN FARMERS HAVE LONG SAID THAT THEY ARE DISADVANTAGED IN THE NEGOTIATIONS AS TO WHETHER OR NOT HE'D SUPPORT THE FARM BILL. DO YOU HAVE ANY KNOWLEDGE OF ANY STANCE HE TOOK TO HELP THE BLACK FARMERS OR --

WELL, I DON'T THINK IT'S ABOUT HELPING THE FARMERS PERIOD. BUT HIS STANCE HAS BEEN LET'S SEPARATE OUT AND LET'S MAKE THE FARM BILL A FARM BILL AND ALL THE ADDITIONAL ADD-ONS THAT IS NORMALLY THE COURSE OF BUSINESS IN D.C., LET'S STOP THAT. AND, SO, THEREIN LIES WHERE THE ISSUE HAS BEEN. IT'S NOT LET' DO A CERTAIN ONE THING FOR BLACK FARMERS AS IT IS, LET'S TAKE CARE OF THE ISSUES THAT NEED TO BE ADDRESSED FOR FARMERS. BUT WHEN YOU START TALKING ABOUT SUBSIDIES OR THE SNAP PROGRAMS, ET CETERA, LET THOSE INDEPENDENT PROGRAMS RUN IN AND OF THEMSELVES AS OPPOSED TO, AGAIN, EVERY BILL THAT COMES THROUGH HAS TO HAVE ADD-ONS. AND THAT'S BEEN WHERE COTTON HAS STOOD. I KNOW HE'S BEEN ASKED TO EXTEND THE SESSION SO HE HE CAN --

I'LL BRIEFLY SAY THIS. I THINK THAT ULTIMATELY IT'S GOING TO BE SENATOR PRYOR'S RACE TO LOSE. I THINK WHENEVER YOU'RE AN INCUMBENT AND YOU'RE BASICALLY TIED WITHIN THE MARGIN OF ERROR WITH YOUR OPPONENT, THAT'S A PROBLEM. EVERY HOLIDAY SEASON WHEN YOU PUT YOUV A COMMERCIAL HOLDING THE BIBLE, THE NORTH STAR, PUTTING THE LEGEND ON AND JACKET FOR EVERYONE TO SEE, I THINK IT SHOWS THAT YOU'RE DEALING FROM A PLACE OF WEAKNESS, WHATEVER THAT WEAKNESS MIGHT BE. SO, I THINK SENATOR PRYOR NEEDS TO ADDRESS SOME OF THAT AND I THINK THE MORE ADEQUATE APPROACH WOULD BE TO SAY, I HAVE BEEN HERE THIS LONG. THIS IS WHERE I STAND. WE SHOULD NOT PUT A ONE-TERM CONGRESSMAN IN THIS SEAT WHERE IMPORTANT DECISIONS ARE MADE, BUT INSTEAD HE'S NOT DOING THAT. SO, IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS OVER 2014.

LET'S MOVE ON THE BALLOT. THE MOST IMPORTANT RACE TO TALK ABOUT WOULD BE THE RACE FOR GOVERNOR. AND CURRENTLY THERE IS ONE DEMOCRAT CANDIDATE, AND I BELIEVE THERE ARE THREE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES AT THIS MOMENT. AND, LAMAR, I THINK IT WOULD BE VERY APPROPRIATE TO START WITH YOU. WHAT ARE YOUR PREDICTIONS WITH REGARD TO HOW THAT RACE IS GOING TO SHAKE OUT?

I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE COMPETITIVE. GIVEN THE POLL INFORMATION I'VE SEEN, YOU KNOW, I THINK WHAT STAND OUT FOR CONGRESSMAN ROSS IS THAT HE HASN'T SPENT A LOT OF MONEY. HE DOESN'T HAVE THE NAME ID THAT ASA HUTCHINSON HAS. HE'S BEEN ABLE TO PULL IT ALMOST TO A DEAD HEAT. I THINK THAT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO HIM. I THINK THE 2014 GOVERNOR'S ELECTION IS GOING TO BE LIKE MIKE, BE LIKE MIKE FOR EVERYBODY. [LAUGHTER]

WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT RESPONSIBLE TAX CUTTING, WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT CREATING JOBS, WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT KEY APPOINTMENTS FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS, WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT SMALL BUSINESS, MIKE BEEBE HAS DONE THAT. EVERYBODY ELSE IS GOING TO BE LIKE MIKE. MIKE ROSS WANTS TO BE LIKE MIKE BEEBE. THE VOTERS IDENTIFY WITH THAT. THEY WANT THAT TO CONTINUE. I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE VERY COMPETITIVE, BUT AT THE END I THINK MIKE ROSS WILL PULL IT OUT.

GENTLEMEN, DOES ASA WANT TO BE LIKE MIKE?

HE DOES NOT. I DON'T KNOW IF MIKE ROSS WANTS TO BE LIKE MIKE BEEBE FROM A STANDPOINT OF WHAT WE JUST GOT THROUGH TALKING ABOUT SENATOR PRYOR WITH THE FATIGUE PIECE. IF WE'RE SAYING MIKE BEEBE PART 2, IF YOU WILL, THE FATIGUENESS SETS IN. PEOPLE SAY, DAG, WE'RE SEEING THE SAME MOVIE OVER AND OVER. THE GOOD THING IS THE GOVERNOR IS STILL ENJOYING A RELATIVELY HIGH APPROVAL RATING.

71%.

ABSOLUTELY.

BUT HE'S NOT GOING TO BE THE GOVERNOR. SO, WHAT IS MIKE ROSS'S REAL PLAN FOR ARKANSAS? HE'S TALKED ABOUT THOSE. BUT IF HE'S GOING TO BE RUNNING ON HIS OWN MERITS, HE NEEDS TO BE ABLE TO SEPARATE HIMSELF FROM MIKE BEEBE BECAUSE IT WON'T BE MIKE BEEBE. PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE LOOKING AT, IS THIS MIKE ROSS? IT WILL BE TIGHT. ASA HAS BEEN OUT THERE, HIS NAME HAS BEEN OUT THERE. SO, HE'S GOT THAT TO CONTEND WITH. WHERE IS ROSS GOING TO COME? IS HE GOING TO LOOK TO HIT ON THE GOVERNOR? I DON'T KNOW IF THAT'S GOING TO BE TO HIS BENEFIT. AGAIN, I THINK HE'S GOING TO HAVE TO COME UP WITH HIS OWN PAWN CARD.

IF YOU LOOK AT THE KEY ISSUES THAT ARE TALKED ABOUT SO FAR, TALK ABOUT TAXES, BOTH OF THEM WANT TO DO THINGS IN A RESPONSIBLE MANNER, WHICH IS WHAT GOVERNOR BEEBE HAS SAID ALL ALONG. IF YOU TALK ABOUT EDUCATION, THEY'RE SAYING, OKAY, WE WANT TO CONTINUE WHAT GOVERNOR BEEBE HAS STARTED. IF YOU TALK ABOUT OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE, WE WANT TO CONTINUE. I MEAN, SO, HE'S BEEN PRAGMATIC. HE'S BEEN MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. AND, SO, THEY WOULD BE KIND OF CRAZY TO DEPART FROM SOMETHING THAT'S WORKING. AND AT THE END OF YOUR TERM, IF YOU'VE GOT A 71% APPROVAL RATING FROM ARKANSAS VOTERS, I WOULD MAKE THE ARGUMENT THERE IS NOT FATIGUE, BUT, YOU KNOW, WE PROBABLY LIKE THE WAY THAT THIS GUY IS GOVERNING. SO --

I THINK WE ALL HAVE TO ADMIT, REPUBLICAN THOUGH SOME OF US MAY BE, THAT IS A GOOD POINT. AND MALCOLM, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH THE NEUTRAL PARTY IF THE END RESULT IS A 71% APPROVAL RATING, THEN IS EVERY CANDIDATE, DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN OR GREEN PARTY, SMART TO TRY TO FOLLOW THE BEEBE MODEL?

NO. THE REASON WHY I WOULD SAY NO IS BECAUSE THOUGH GOVERNOR BEEBE HAS HIGH APPROVAL RATINGS, HE HAS NEVER REALLY HAD LONG COAT TAILS. I THINK WE SAW THIS PLAY OUT IN THE LAST ELECTION CYCLE AND THE CYCLE BEFORE THAT WHEN YOU HAD SOMEONE IN A SHANE BROADWAY RUNNING FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WHO COULD NOT WIN AGAINST MARK DAHR. I THINK THAT WAS FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS. I THINK MOST PEOPLE FELT SHANE WAS A SERIOUS CANDIDATE WHO HAD WORKED IN THE LEGISLATURE, BUT THE GOVERNOR DIDN'T COME IN UNTIL THE NINTH HOUR AND CUTER? COMMERCIALS FOR HIM. AT THE END OF THE DAY ASA HAS HIGH NAME RECOGNITION, FOR BETTER OR WORSE. BUT THE OTHER CANDIDATES ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE, CURTIS COLEMAN AND DEBRA HOBBS WHO HAVE A LOT OF SUPPORT FROM THE TEA PARTY, THOUGH THEY PROBABLY WILL NOT WIN THE NOMINATION, ASA WILL WIN THE NOMINATION, THOSE CONSERVATIVE GROUPS, RELIGIOUS CONSERVATIVES, TEA PARTY CONSERVATIVES WILL COALESCE AROUND ASA. THE PROBLEM WITH CONGRESSMAN ROSS IS THAT THERE ARE A LOT OF DEMOCRATS, PARTICULARLY IN PULASKI COUNTY, IN CENTRAL ARKANSAS WHO NEVER CONSIDERED HIM TRUE BLUE, EVEN WHEN HE WAS IN CONGRESS. AND, SO, IT'S NOT TO SAY THAT THEY WOULD VOTE FOR ASA HUTCHINSON, BUT IT IS TO SAY THEY MIGHT NOT NECESSARILY TURN OUT. AND TURNOUT WILL BE THE PROBLEM THAT MIKE ROSS WILL HAVE.

BUT LET'S TALK ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF TURNOUT AND LET'S IN THIS RACE LOOK AT THE ROLE THAT AFRICAN AMERICANS EITHER CAN PLAY, SHOULD PLAY, OR WOULD NEED TO PLAY TO PRODUCE A ROSS VICTORY. BECAUSE THE ONE THING -- AND I HAVE TO DISCLOSE HERE MY PERSONAL HISTORY, I MANAGED A CAMPAIGN ON THE OTHER SIDE OF HIM IN 2000 IN HIS FIRST RACE FOR CONGRESS. AND I KNOW WHO HE IS, I KNOW WHAT HIS ASSETS ARE, AND I KNOW WHAT HIS VULNERABILITIES ARE. THE ONE THING WE ALL HAVE TO ADMIT ABOUT MIKE ROSS IS HE HE KNOWS HOW TO DO THE RETAIL CAMPAIGNING. HE'LL WORK LIKE A DOG. AND HE HE IS VERY COMFORTABLE IN THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY AND HE'S GOT GUYS LIKE MILTON WHO WE SPOKE ABOUT ON THE RIDE DOWN HERE WHO KNOW THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY, THEY'RE CONNECTING IN THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY. THEY KNOW HOW TO DRIVE THAT TURNOUT. SO, WHAT DO YOU ALL THINK, IS THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY STATEWIDE GOING TO EMBRACE MIKE ROSS THE WAY AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE FOURTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT HAS, AND IF SO, WILL THAT BE ENOUGH TO PUT HIM OVER THE TOP? MALCOLM, YOU SEEM TO HAVE THE --

I DO, BUT I'M EDITING MYSELF. [LAUGHTER]

YOU KNOW, I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS TO SAY ABOUT THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY, THE BLACK VOTE, IS IT'S EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, BUT I THINK SOMETIMES IT CAN BE VERY DIFFICULT TO GET THAT BLACK VOTE TURNOUT IN A YEAR THAT'S NOT A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION YEAR. AND PARTICULARLY FOR A STATE THAT HAS CONSISTENTLY VOTED AGAINST THE OBAMA MANTLE, AS IT WERE, BY DOUBLE DIGITS, IT WILL BE VERY HARD FOR THE MIKE ROSS CAMPAIGN MACHINE TO KIND OF TRY TO GET BUSINESS, TURNOUT THE VOTE. YOU KNOW, HE MIGHT TRY TO BRING IN THE CLINTONS AND SOME OTHERS, BUT IT'S JUST VERY, VERY DIFFICULT BECAUSE AT THE END OF THE DAY, WHOEVER YOU BRING IN, THEY'RE NOT THE ONE RUNNING. YOU'RE THE ONE WHO IS RUNNING.

EXACTLY RIGHT.

I WOULD PIGGYBACK ON THAT. IF YOU LOOK BACK WHEN HUCKABEE WAS ABLE TO DRIVE THE BLACK VOTE, EVEN BEEBE TO A LARGE DEGREE, ROSS, CONGRESSMAN ROSS WILL HAVE TO FIGURE OUT HOW DOES HE GET IN AND FROM THAT GET PEOPLE EXCITED BY THE N.A., NOT PRESIDENTIAL. PEOPLE GOT EXCITED ABOUT PRESIDENT OBAMA. HE'S NOT GOING TO BE RUNNING AGAIN. THAT WILL BE THAT MUCH MORE WORK. ACE HAS NAME ID AND HAS BEEN ONGOING INVOLVED IN DIFFERENT CIRCLES OF THE BLACK COMMUNITY. HE'S STILL GOT WORK TO DO, BUT WILL NOT HAVE, I THINK, THE SAME WORK THAT THE DEMOCRAT PARTY IS GOING TO HAVE TO DO TO GET THAT. NOW, IS IT GOING TO BE 90S PLUS PERCENT AGAIN?

WELL, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I'D LIKE TO SAY, BECAUSE IT'S BEEN ONE OF MY PERSONAL MISSIONS IN LIFE, TO MAKE SURE THAT ALL CANDIDATES HAD TO COMPETE FOR THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN VOTE AND NO ONE COULD JUST TAKE IT FOR GRANTED AND NO ONE COULD BE CONSIDERED LAST FOR WRITING IT OFF. AND I JUST WANT TO APPLAUD ALL THREE OF THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES BECAUSE I'VE SEEN THEM ALL AT MINORITY EVENTS. I KNOW THAT CURTIS COLEMAN AND ASA HUTCHINSON WERE BOTH AT THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON EVENT. AND I KNOW THAT ASA AND CURTIS HAVE BOTH BEEN AT NAACP EVENTS. AND I'M JUST SO PROUD TO SEE THAT THERE IS AN EFFORT FROM BOTH SIDES. NOW, MALCOLM, AGAIN, AS THE INDEPENDENT, DO YOU THINK THAT THERE IS ANYTHING THE REPUBLICANS CAN DO TO TAKE AWAY SOME OF THAT AFRICAN-AMERICAN SUPPORT?

YES, I THINK THE WORD THAT POPS INTO MY MIND THE MOST IS JUST AUTHENTICITY. I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I THINK IS TRUE FOR MOST AFRICAN AMERICANS WHO GO TO THE POLLS IS THAT THEY DON'T NECESSARILY HAVE TO AGREE WITH EVERY STANCE THAT YOU TAKE ON AN ISSUE, BUT THEY WANT TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE AUTHENTIC IN SPEAKING TO THEM, THAT YOU ARE TRUTHFUL ABOUT YOUR POSITIONS, AND THAT THEY HAVE A SENSE -- THAT YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE AROUND THEM. AND IF ALL THOSE THINGS ARE TRUE, THEN THEY ARE OPEN TO HEAR WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY AND THEY'RE OPEN TO YOUR PERSPECTIVE. IT MAY NOT MEAN THAT THEY'LL END UP VOTING FOR YOU, BUT THEY'RE THANKFUL THAT YOU TOOK THE TIME. AND ON THE MARGINS, IT COULD BE EXTREMELY HELPFUL, PARTICULARLY WHEN THERE IS NOT NECESSARILY A KNOWN QUANTITY ON THE OTHER END THAT'S RUNNING AGAINST YOU.

BELIEVE IT OR NOT, WE'RE DOWN TO OUR LAST FIVE MINUTES. SO, LET'S TALK ABOUT THE MAJORITY IN THE ARKANSAS STATE LEGISLATURE, BOTH HOUSE AND SENATE, AND HOW YOU GENTLEMEN THINK THIS RACE IS GOING TO TURNOUT WITH REGARD TO THOSE MAJORITIES. WHICH PARTY IS GOING TO CONTROL THE SENATE AT THE END OF 2014, LAMAR?

I'D LIKE TO SAY THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY WOULD CONTROL THE SENATE. I THINK THAT'S A POWER, WOULD BE A STRETCH TO PREDICT THAT. I WOULD SAY THAT THE HOUSE IS VERY COMPETITIVE, AND I THINK AND AM LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT GOING BACK TO THE DEMOCRATIC CONTROL. I THINK THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS GOING TO BE IN A VERY DIFFICULT SITUATION GOING FORWARD. WE TALKED A LITTLE ABOUT THE PRIVATE OPTION. YOU KNOW, THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO HAVE TAKEN THE POSITION THAT THEY WON'T REAUTHORIZE THE PRIVATE OPTION, OKAY. SO, IF YOU'RE NOT GOING TO DO THAT'S CORRECT THEN YOU'RE ESSENTIALLY VOTING FOR A TAX INCREASE ON SMALL BUSINESSES AND ON PEOPLE. THE TAX CUTS THAT WE HAD IN THE LAST SENATE WERE PREDICATED ON THE -- REAUTHORIZING. THEY CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS.

WOULD YOU EXPLAIN WHY THAT IS?

SURE. THE PRIVATE OPTION WAS A BI-PARTISAN EFFORT. AND BECAUSE OF THE SAVING THAT WE WERE GOING TO REALIZE FROM THE PRIVATE OPTION, THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY CAME BACK AND SAID, OKAY, WE WANT TAX CUTS FOR MANUFACTURERS, WE WANT TAX CUTS FOR MIDDLE INCOME PEOPLE, WE WANT STACKS TAX CUTS FOR CIGARS, TAX CUTS FOR WHATEVER. THEY PASSED AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE SAVINGS WE WOULD HAVE FROM THE PRIVATE OPTION. SO, IT'S JUST ARITHMETIC. IF YOU TAKE AWAY THE PRIVATE OPTION, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO PUT THAT MONEY IN SOMEWHERE. REPUBLICANS ARE EITHER GOING TO BE VOTING FOR THE PRIVATE OPTION OR THEY'RE GOING TO BE VOTING FOR A TAX INCREASE ON SMALL BUSINESSES, WHICH IS A DIFFICULT POSITION TO BE IN. AND I THINK THE CHALLENGE IS YOU STILL HAVE THE TEA PARTY ELEMENT OUT THERE WHEREVER THEY ARE. SO, YOU CAN'T LET THE TEA PARTY DICTATE COMMON SENSE. COMMON SENSE IS THAT WE SODA THE COURSE, THAT WE HAVE THE PRIVATE OPTION, AND WE GET PEOPLE WELL. WE'VE GOT ALMOST 70,000 PEOPLE SIGNED UPRIGHT NOW FOR THE PRIVATE OPTION. WHO WANTS TO TAKE 70,000 PEOPLE OFF OF HEALTH CARE? I MEAN THAT'S A VERY DIFFICULT THING TO DO. SO, I THINK IT'S DIFFICULT. I THINK THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY WILL CONTROL THE HOUSE. I THINK THE SENATE STILL STAYS IN REPUBLICAN CONTROL.

CLEARLY, I THINK THAT THE PURPLE MOVING RED RAPIDLY OF ARKANSAS WILL CONTINUE. I THINK THERE WILL BE EVEN MORE GAINS IN THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE WILL REMAIN REPUBLICAN. SO, IT'S THE GOVERNOR'S SEAT THAT WE'RE LOOKING AT AND CURTIS COLEMAN, DEBRA HOBBS, ASA HUTCHINSON, ONE OF THOSE THREE WILL BE IN THAT CHAIR. ARKANSAS NOW -- 138 YEARS, WE KEEP TALKING ABOUT THAT, BUT THE DYNAMICS AND WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN YOU DO HAVE CONTROL OF, AS YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT NATIONALLY, ARKANSAS YOU HAVE CONTROL OF THE HOUSE, THE SENATE AS WELL AS THE GOVERNOR'S CHAIR, WHAT TYPES OF REAL GAINS, MOVING THE NEEDLE FORWARD IN ARKANSAS, EDUCATION, ENERGY, ET CETERA. SO, I THINK THE WIN IN THE HOUSE COME REPUBLICANS, PUT MORE PLAYERS IN THERETHV I THINK THE PRIVATE OPTION AND THE TAX PIECE, YES, IT'S GOING TO BE REAL.

IT'S GOING TO BE AN INTERESTING FISCAL SESSION.

SHORT TIME TO DO IT IN, AND I THINK YOU'RE GOING TO END UP SEEING, THOUGH, REPUBLICANS COME OUT ON THE TOP END OF THAT.

MALCOLM, WE'LL GIVE YOU THE FINAL WORD.

I THINK THAT REPUBLICANS WILL KEEP BOTH THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE AND THE LEGISLATURE, I THINK DEMOCRATS NEED TO TAKE TIME TO WORK ON THEIR FARM TEAM AND FIND SOME CANDIDATES, DIVERSE CANDIDATES, CANDIDATES WHO MIGHT SKEW A LITTLE BIT YOUNGER, WHO ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT THE CAUSE AND START REMAKING THE PARTY. BECAUSE I THINK YOU HAVE TO SAY THAT WERE REPUBLICANS TO MAKE THE GAINS THEY DID EVEN WITH A POPULAR GOVERNOR, IT WILL BE VERY, VERY HARD WITHOUT THE STANDARD BYERERER AT THE STATE LEVEL FOR DEMOCRATS TO MAKE GAINS WITHOUT A STANDARD BEARER.

WELL, HEY, GENTLEMEN, I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR JOINING ME. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU FOR A VERY, VERY OUTSTANDING AND FIERCE DEBATE/DISCUSSION HERE TODAY. AND TO OUR AUDIENCE, I WISH YOU A HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON. I WISH THAT YOU HAVE A HEALTHY AND PROSPEROUS 2014. AND WITH THAT, WE'LL SEE YOU NEXT TIME. ♪ ♪

AETN.org > Programs > Minority Matters > Minority Matters December 2013