Gunner DeLay, the Republican candidate for attorney general, isn’t content to wait for the general election. He’s messing with the Democratic primary candidates, specifically Robert Herzfeld. DeLay piles on an issue already developed by Democratic opponent Dustin McDaniel — Herzfield’s questionable use of drug task force money to pay for a statewide opinion poll about drug crimes. Herzfield has defended the expenditure, even if it has helped shape his campaign message on the issue.
DeLay has asked Republican Sen. Denny Altes, to ask for an attorney general’s opinion on the legality of Herzfeld’s use of drug task force money. Says DeLay, “Arkansas law authorizes use of drug task money for ‘law enforcement and prosecutorial purposes’. In my opinion, there is no way a voter survey fits within those restrictions. If the Attorney General’s Office declares such use to be legal, I will be proposing a substantial change in the law to make sure drug task force money is used directly to fight the war on drugs.”
UPDATE: Herzfeld, as you might imagine, defends the poll. He says
The 14 questions on the September 2004 survey are clearly written to give members of the legislature scientific information of how Arkansas voters feel about these issues. The results of my working with the legislature last year speak for themselves.
He claims his research was important on a clemency reform bill, a bill to protect children exposed to meth labs and a bill to put certain over-the-counter drugs behind pharmacy counters.