Zac White of Heber Springs, the Democratic candidate for Senate in District 18, says Republican Sen. Missy Irvin of Mountain View has been dodging a debate with him and independent candidate Paul White for three months. He says she claims she’s too busy.
I’ve asked Senator Irvin why she hasn’t been able to find a spare hour to allow voters to hear the candidates side by side.
The real reason is that she carries a title into the race, is a hard worker who won a solid victory her first time out and believes she’ll have no trouble winning re-election. Thus the front-runner strategy. It would be nice to have an opportunity to ask Irvin about the legislative baggage she’s carried for the Koch billionaires and other corporate special interests. You might remember she actually brought a staffer from the corporate Republican-controlled American Legislative Exchange Council to testify for one of her bills. Corporations have been fleeing ALEC membership since reporting about its driving influence behind voter ID legislation aimed at disenfranchising minority, black and elderly voters. Irvin also inveighs frequently about the evils of federal health care legislation and the expansion of Medicaid to serve poor people. She seems often to be more concerned about poor doctors’ practices and billings, her husband happening to be one.
A word of praise for some other Republicans. There are any number of races in which well-financed corporate Republican candidates are widely expected to win with little difficulty over Democratic opponents, but they’ve nonetheless willingly joined debates and forums with opponents. A good example is Tom Cotton, Republican 4th District Congressional candidate, who’s jousted multiple times with Democrat Gene Jeffress on TV and at forums that included the Green and Libertarian candidates. Anything less is an insult to voters. 2nd District Republican Rep. Tim Griffin, too, has been willing to appear with Democrat Herb Rule.