Brian Chilson
THE PARTY OF HUTCHINSON: Look who’s gotten on their high horse about Josh Mahony’s record, which so far includes no felonies, unlike many Arkansas and national Republicans.

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton’s go-to reporter at the Democrat-Gazette had more on Cotton’s oppo research on disappeared Democratic Senate challenger Josh Mahony this morning.

Frank Lockwood was favored with a copy of the letter to Cotton supporters I’d heard about but been unable to obtain in which Cotton claimed credit for damaging Mahony. Cotton revealed not much more specifically than the lapses in Mahony filings and exaggeration of his employment history that were already known. The article also mentioned a couple of fairly small past tax liens, one nine years old.

Cotton’s letter suggested there were more “significant vulnerabilities” and said his campaign had begun ratcheting up pressure on Mahony after filing closed. Only with news releases? Or with direct contact? The letter doesn’t say but you may easily infer that the pressure is credited for Mahony’s abrupt departure for supposed family health reasons and his seclusion since

The bullying continues with a threat to fight any “liberal judge” in Pulaski County inclined to let the Democratic Party put a  candidate on the ballot. Cotton is a street-fightin’ man, no doubt.

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OK, so we now have a stronger hint that the Cotton campaign ran a coordinated ploy to drive out a Democratic candidate at the point it was too late to field an opponent. It’s interesting they went so hard against such a weak candidate.

But what really struck me was another facet of today’s D-G story: The cast of GOP characters harrumphing about Josh Mahony’s flaws (so far as revealed fairly small potatoes) was something to behold.

Again, there was the ethically challenged GOP chair Doyle Webb (someone with a past record of tax nonpayment, too, on top of slimy legal practice). There was Trent Garner, who’s admitted a checkered past of his own and whose knowledge of the law, as demonstrated on the floor of the Senate with unhinged pronouncements on, for example, Wendell Griffen, is no tribute to the local law school from which he graduated. And, best of all, who should appear but Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s former chief of staff, Michael Lamoureux, who has more than a passing connection to the Medicaid-health care agency public corruption scandal (he has not been charged), not to mention a record rich with making money while a legislator as a richly paid  “consultant” and also as a lawyer for people with special interests before the legislature, including a phone company that happens to be headed by one of Tom Cotton’s biggest supporters, P.T. Sanders.  Wonder what Tom Cotton could have written about a candidate with Lamoureux’s record?

Again: If Republicans have evidence of further wrongdoing by Mahony — and any other Democrats, as Cotton has hinted darkly — release it and let the chips fall.

Just spare me hypocritical sanctimony from the party of Jeremy Hutchinson, Micah Neal, Jon Woods, Jake Files, Gilbert Baker, Michael Lamoureux, Trent Garner, Doyle Webb, Mark Darr, Ed Garner (another who knew a thing or two about tax liens when he was in the legislature), tax felon Mickey Gates (who Trent Garner once said deserved a second chance) and  smelly nursing home cash beneficiaries like former Judge Michael Maggio and Justice Rhonda Wood, who campaigned as Republicans, to name just a few.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention the governor’s son, who’s had several brushes with the law and who now makes money charging clients who’ve received state taxpayer handouts from his daddy. Maybe we should have vetted Asa more.

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And let us not forget Donald Trump, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Rick Gates, Roger Stone and George Papadopoulos. At least Josh Mahony has no felony record