Leon Jones Jr., a Republican candidate for attorney general, issued a release saying he’d finish today a tour that has taken him to all 75 Arkansas counties, covering 19,000 miles in his well-used 2014 SUV.
He said he’ll repeat the journey beginning in January so people can meet a person who hopes to be the next attorney general.
What has he learned so far?
It has become abundantly clear that Arkansans are looking for solutions to everyday problems. They want a candidate with a fresh, bold vision to lead the state forward, not just that same politicians looking to hold a position until the next one opens. Common refrains along the campaign trail that the Jones campaign will look to address have been stopping federal overreach, making Arkansans aware of their Constitutional rights, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and working within local communities to solve local challenges without the one size fits all solution which often comes out of Little Rock.
With all due respect, that message isn’t particularly fresh, with its 2nd Amendment dog whistle and the boilerplate reference to federal overreach.
The question is whether old-school campaigning can prevail against TV and social media saturation.
Jones’ opponent, Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, is saying much the same thematically, by the way. But a major difference between the two candidates on top of name recognition: Money. Griffin has $1 million left of $1.5 million raised for his primary contest. (He raised this mostly with money rolled over from an aborted campaign for governor, a fund transfer that I still contend is legally dubious but I don’t expect the toothless state Ethics Commission to take a meaningful look at the way around rules that seem to require a refund of money raised for an abandoned campaign.) Jones has $35,000 on hand of about $59,000 raised.