The Republican primary race for lieutenant governor — a job whose only duties are to preside over the Senate when it is in session or become governor should one drop dead or move on elsewhere — promises to be one of the noisiest on the primary election ballot next year despite the lack of significance.
The fifth Republican to join the field may also provide an answer to a question about Republican primary voters: Are they really that extreme?
The latest candidate is Chris Bequette, uncle of Jake Bequette, who announced earlier as a candidate for U.S. Senate against incumbent Sen. John Boozman. Like Jake Bequette, Chris Bequette says the other Republicans are just too squishy, too much like Democrats.
Announced lieutenant governor candidates so far are fire-breathing religionist Sen. Jason Rapert, Washington County Judge Joseph Wood, former Republican Party Chair Doyle Webb and Arkansas Surgeon General Gregory Bledsoe, one of three Bledsoes fattening their bank accounts on government paychecks. All are doing all they can to assure voters there’s not a moderate political bone in their bodies.
Still. Bequette’s announcement castigates majority Republicans for governing like Democrats. He’d cut spending, end the income tax, crack down on crime, let parents take state money to whatever school they choose and more. (A lieutenant governor has no statutory ability to do any of this, FYI.) Bequette, a lawyer who now works in investments, invokes his Razorback football past as does his nephew. He also uses photos on his video in Razorback gear, something that drew a request from UA that Jake Bequette desist. More on his website.
Chris Bequette singles out two opponents for particular scorn.
“Two of my opponents in this race, Doyle Webb and Jason Rapert, have been hack politicians for years. Jason Rapert is a 30% Republican at best. When we badly needed 100% Republicans, Rapert fiddled away hundreds of millions in hardworking taxpayer dollars by voting to increase spending each year. But nothing more epitomizes his gutlessness as a state senator than the fact that the Confucius Institute, a propaganda arm financed by the Chinese Communist Party, remained for a decade on the University of Central Arkansas campus, Rapert’s alma mater and in his district. This fact alone should disqualify Rapert from public office. Doyle Webb is the Mitch McConnell of Arkansas Republicans. He was unable to ensure that the Democrat Party version of State Government was cut and dismantled. Webb has been responsible for too many candidates elected to the State Legislature who have an “R” behind their name out of convenience rather than conviction.”
“Webb and Rapert have had their chance to cut 140-years of a Democrat Party version of State Government. They have fallen far short. We need new blood and real leaders in State Government who will go big, bold and strong. As your next Lieutenant Governor, I will work daily to be the chief accountability officer of our State and ensure that we govern as 100% Republicans, at long last unleashing Liberty, Safety and Prosperity in Arkansas.
Somebody’s gotta lose.
No Democrat has announced yet for the job, open because the current placeholder, Tim Griffin, is term-limited.