WINNER/LOSER: Stephanie Orman defeated Jim Webb for Bentonville mayor despite the ivnestment of almost $59,000 for Webb by a Republican corporate interest group in Washington.

Speaking of losing bets by the Republican State Leadership Committee: It also threw more money into the runoff for Bentonville mayor and came up on the losing end after pumping $58,000 into the race.

We broke news before the runoff that the Republican State Leadership Committee, a D.C.-based group fueled by national corporate contributions, had inexplicably gotten involved in the race for Bentonville mayor.  It provided more than $41,000 to its independent expenditure committee in Arkansas on direct mail and other advertising in the race. The RSLC backed Jim Webb, who led the primary, 42-40, over City Council member Stephanie Orman.

After our story, Orman spoke out against the use of outside money in the race. Webb had Walton-related backers as well as the support of Teresa Crossland Oelke, once a leader in the Koch-financed political organization.

A post-election report shows the RSLC spent another $17,371 in the runoff, raising total expenditures in the mayoral race to $58,958. The RSLC insisted its contributions were not earmarked — that is directed by an individual contributor for spending by the independent expenditure committee on a specific race. The committee reported only contributions from the RSLC.  No one was willing to talk about what drew the Washington organization to get involved in a race for mayor in Northwest Arkansas.


Again, the investment was for naught. Orman ran away with the runoff, 63-37.