The secretary of state’s race is another indication of Arkansas politics taking on the scorched-earth tenor of national elections with the rise of Republicanism here.

Mark Martin, the Republican candidate, made the wholly specious and wildly exaggerated claim yesterday that O’Brien had violated federal law by mailing 80 absentee ballots prepared erroneously by the Election Commission. (They lacked the sufficient number of Jacksonville alderman races.) Martin demanded that it be corrected. It already had been corrected

O’Brien is back today with his own jab — at Martin’s conflation of home, business and campaign office addresses and phone numbers and the whopping $1,350 he gets taxpayers to pay himself monthly for supposedly using his private business office for a state legislative office. I asked Martin’s campaign yesterday how much he paid to lease this very modest space — check Google for 9310 Wagon Wheel Road, Springdale (CORRECTION TO ORIGINAL ADDRESS, DON’T KNOW WHERE EARLIER NUMBER CAME FROM) — that he re-leases to himself and how long he had leased it. No answers. According to O’Brien, Martin couldn’t even remember the address when asked by another reporter. It’s hard to see how Martin has much private business, given how many days he charges taxpayers for per diem running down to the Capitol. He knocks down more than $70,000 a year from the state taxpayers.

Much more is to come. We’ll hear about O’Brien’s clean underwear policy for county employees, no doubt. I hope we hear more about some of Martin’s nuttier ideas, such as legislating religion into school curriculum. Actually, I wish the election was tomorrow.