A slow start to the week. Election filings began:
* NO SURPRISES ON OPENING DAY: Lots of filings at the Capitol and courthouses today, but nothing you could call a big surprise as of 4 p.m. Among the congressional candidates filing on the first day was Democrat James Lee Witt (above), the former FEMA director, who’s running for Congress from the 4th District. Republican Bruce Westerman also filed today for the seat, with Tommy Moll also anticipated. You can see the list of state filings here. Republicans far outnumbered Democrats on day one. The list includes judicial candidates. No contests yet for the state’s two appellate courts. Here are the day’s Pulaski County filings.
* CLUB FOR GROWTH SUBSIDIARY TOM COTTON FILES: Tom Cotton, the extremist 4th District Republican, filed today for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor. He was greeted to the race by a Democratic Party news release that noted what rich dividend he’d paid the Club for Growth, a wealthy anti-tax lobby, which poured a critical $300,000 into his 2012 congressional race. The Democratic Party said the Club for Growth’s own legislative scorecard showed Cotton voting correctly 92 percent of the time, about 30 points better than any other representative from Arkansas. It is pouring huge sums into his race already this year.
* BANK ROBBER SOUGHT: The Little Rock police department circulated this photograph of a suspect in the robbery this morning of a Bank of the Ozarks branch at 1102 North Rodney Parham Road.
* ARKANSAS CONTINUES IN SPOTLIGHT ON MEDICAID EXPANSION: The Atlantic writes on the struggle to pass the private option expansion of Medicaid. It might well pass this week, the article notes, but with Rep. Nate Bell’s strangling amendment aimed at holding down enrollment for a future coup de grace. The writer lets Bell get away with saying taking away coverage to those already signed up would be immoral at this point. But that is exactly the fate he and others ultimately hope for the program next year.