Good article in the D-G this morning on Rep. Sue Scott of Rogers, facing another Republican primary challenge because of her support for the private option. She faced a similar challenge in 2014 and held on to win easily. 

As we’ve reported, outside money has poured into the race, with Americans for Prosperity targeting Scott for attack. 

Her opponent, Austin McCollum, is a retail business analytics in Benton County who has been frequently been involved in Republican politics. 

From Doug Thompson’s article in the D-G, Scott isn’t backing down: 

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“Is private option perfect? No. Would I vote for it again? Yes,” Scott said.

McCollum said he has found during his campaigning that the voters of District 95 are opposed to the private-option plan.

And while Scott has supported legislation that protects gun owners’ rights, she has not been as strong an advocate as she could be, McCollum said.

Thompson also checks in with Scott’s 2014 opponent, Dane Zimmerman, who ran against Scott on the PO. “It was a heated issue at the time, but the decision’s been made,” Zimmerman said. “It’s a tired subject.” Indeed. 

AFP isn’t the only group that will be flooding races with outside money. Conduit for Action, funded by Fayetteville businessman Joe Maynard, will also go after pro-PO incumbents (Sen. Jane English, Sen. Eddie Joe Williams have been on the receiving end of Conduit attacks, as well as Sen. Jon Woods before he dropped out of the race).

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The PO was a mixed bag as a factor in the 2014 primaries; in addition to Scott, Sen. Bill Sample held off a challenge from a foe running largely on the basis of the private option, as did Sen. Missy Irvin (who supported the PO in 2013, then flipped to a no in 2014).  But the aginners picked off some PO backers: Bruce Holland was beaten in a senate challenge by then Rep. Terry Rice and vying for an open senate seat, former state rep John Burris was beaten by Scott Flippo. 

When the private option first passed in 2013, the debate was often tedious, and often cantankerous. Scott was the rare GOP lawmaker who who plainly stated the human stakes: 

“When I look at the numbers, I see faces with those numbers.” 

Support for special health care reporting made possible by the Arkansas Public Policy Panel.

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