AR GOP: New Officers Meet; Martin A Spectacle

16 Nov

Roby Brock has a nice summary of today’s Political Animals Club Q&A with the three incoming GOP state constitutional officers, Larry, Moe, and Curly Lt. Gov.-elect Mark Darr, Sec. of State-elect Mark Martin, and Land Commish-elect John Thurston.

While GOP chair Doyle Webb aptly attributed state GOP gains to the huge anti-Obama sentiment that exists here — a sentiment largely based on this state’s unfortunate, and often ugly, history of poor race relations — these three at least seemed to back off the heavily-partisan rhetoric that had helped propel them to office.  Instead, they spoke at length about the professional tone taken by Democrats during the transition process thus far and their willingness to get past politics to serve the people of Arkansas.

However, the little meet-and-greet did not come and go without spectacle, as is sure to become the norm anytime we get our new, bumbling, Chris Farley-esque Sec. of State on record and in front of a microphone. (Seriously, this guy is a blogger’s dream, no?)

First, some irony for ya. When asked about whether he would revamp the office or announce any major shake-up from the way his predecessor conducted business, he replied that the transition would “not be revolutionary, just evolutionary.” Nice to see Mr. Unintelligent Design finally come around on science, I guess.

But that was just the beginning for Martin today. Though he perhaps was the most outspoken panelist regarding not making his office a symbol of partisanship, Martin’s defensive tone was no doubt due to some of the fall-out from his recent Facebook exchange with state GOP Rep. Donna Hutchinson.  You know, the exchange that put their complete ignorance regarding the legal requirement of providing Spanish-language ballots (in accordance with the Arkansas constitution) on display.

Thankfully, local Fox 16 reporter Josh Rosenthal didn’t let Martin off the hook simply because Martin has since learned there was nothing that needed “taking care of.”  Rather than address the issue honestly, Martin tried to change his tone and re-cast the Facebook comments as “a response to a legislator that I felt stepped beyond her authority and called me out in public on an issue that the Secretary of State’s office does not have the right to actually get involved in.”  You can even see him grow increasingly angry by the reporter’s persistence in getting a legitimate answer from the state’s new chief election manager on where he stands on the issue.

UPDATE: Though his whacky mannerisms and misdeedery certainly warrant some kind of nickname, we gotta know — what’s behind Mark “Moonbeam” Martin, Mr. Brantley?

UPDATE II: The PAC also voted for best and worst campaigns this season, with Timmy! Griffin taking the prize for “Best” and his AR-02 opponent being deemed “Worst.” We ditto that assessment.

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