Why This Democrat Voted For Stacy Hurst

The part of Little Rock, Arkansas that constitutes what is today House District 35 has, for as long as I’ve lived here, sent Democrats to the Arkansas General Assembly. The district runs along the northern-most part of town, and includes the beautiful Heights and Riverdale neighborhoods (by the way, you couldn’t pick a better place to live). With that history in mind, I have nothing bad to say about this year’s Democratic candidate, Clarke Tucker. He has had a successful legal career, has run a respectable campaign, and is a descendant of a family with rich ties to the city. And guess what? I’m a Democrat!

But, when I went to the early polls last week, I didn’t vote for him.

In what will probably be a difficult election for the Democratic Party, I chose instead to vote for Stacy Hurst, Tucker’s Republican opponent. I wrote this piece for a number of reasons. First, and most obvious, I really do want to see her win, and I hope to give some undecided voters reason to vote for her. More importantly though, I also want to discuss the context of her unique candidacy. Her candidacy represents something more than just a state race is a small district in Little Rock. I really believe that.

To begin, Stacy Hurst is a fantastic candidate on her own merits. She is a successful businesswoman, she has served well as a city director for Ward 3 for about a decade now, and has served for a long list of non-profit organizations. In terms of policy, Hurst is on the correct side of many important issues. Arkansas’s nationally famed “Private Option” will unquestionably go down as one of the great political achievements of Arkansas history—and Hurst supports the law as a centerpiece of her campaign. She supports pre-k expansion, and she has expressed to me personally a number of refreshingly progressive stances on some social issues. Suffice it to say, she believes that science classes should be science classes and not theology classes.

To really understand why I’ve picked Stacy Hurst though (and why I went out of my way to write this piece), it’s important to point out though that she and I don’t agree on everything. For example, she supports an expansion of charter schools, and I usually don’t. From discussions she and I have had (and let me not fail to emphasize that Hurst is approachable and eager to listen to everybody), she is unhesitant to acknowledge the issues on which she and I disagree. The truth is, issue by issue, Clarke Tucker is probably a bit closer to me than Stacy Hurst.

But, as I will explain, the context of this election makes me perfectly fine with that.

Because there’s a much bigger issue in today’s politics than any of the issues on which Hurst and I don’t agree perfectly. Quite plainly, too many Republicans are unwilling to compromise with Democrats. The daily reality for most of today’s Republicans is an ever looming three million dollar (career destroying) ad buy. Any politician who votes for or even suggests the most fleeting support for about anything with less than a perfect Heritage or Koch score can expect to be characterized everyday in a month long media blitz as a supporter of “Obama’s socialist agenda”. The list of extraordinarily conservative Republicans who have gone down this way is fascinating. Today’s biggest political issue isn’t a specific issue, but a culture of non-compromise.

And it is tearing our nation apart.

On this point—and I say this without qualification—Stacy Hurst is the most impressive Republican candidate I’ve seen in years. She has made it clear to the public and to the Republican Party that she is a different kind of Republican. In a time of partisan gridlock, Hurst has separated herself from her Republican colleagues by aggressively championing the importance of working with the other party. In a time when candidates of both parties are lured by the fundraising advantages of new and greater extremes, Hurst boldly describes herself as a moderate.

The glory days of the Democratic Party of Arkansas are probably over; Arkansas most likely will keep its fledgling Republican majority in power for a while. So, while Clarke Tucker would be a perfectly respectable representative to send to the General Assembly, Clarke Tucker will never be in the “room”.

Hurst, however, with her long-established record of public service and strong connections within the state—let alone that she’s a Republican—will be in the room. And in that room—which will contain no shortage of divisive and destructive ideas—we need people like her who will stand up for unifying and constructive ideas.

Cooperation has become a difficult road to steer in modern politics, but Stacy Hurst has chosen to embrace cooperation anyway. It’s easier for candidates to support compromise privately and without any real specifics, but Stacy Hurst has done so publicly and substantively. Stacy Hurst has chosen what is best in a time when what is best is what is hard.

For that reason, I have rewarded her with my stubbornly Democratic vote.


6 thoughts on “Why This Democrat Voted For Stacy Hurst

  1. Perplexed says:

    Let me provide a little insight into this glorious review of hurst. First, her last name is a dead giveaway to her ‘success’ as a businesswoman. She was no success at anything until she married into the Hurst family. Then ‘walla’ she got on the city board and now something bigger. Her connections and wealth were not earned on her own. Like mrs clinton, she got them the old fashioned way—she married into them.

  2. FUZZYLOGIC says:

    If you look to the inception of Hurst’s campaign, a lot about her character is revealed. She remained undeclared as to her party affiliation until the last minute, which suggests that she was trying to fox her way into an unopposed candidacy. It’s also widely known that Hurst is running as a Republican because the Stevens are funding her campaign, suggesting that her convictions are not so deeply held. Combine that with her campaign tactics, which have focused almost completely on manufacturing and spreading misrepresentations about her opponent, rather than promoting who she is and what she intends to do in office, and you have the picture of a opportunist candidate whose behavior in office is unpredictable at best. Your argument for voting for her is that you think she will be someone that will work on both sides of the aisle, yet her behavior thus far reveals that she will take the path of least resistance. Given, as you state, that “Republicans are unwilling to compromise with Democrats” both nationally and in Arkansas, I see it as highly likely that Hurst would do the easy thing and tow the party line, rather than going out on a limb and risking isolation as you fantasize.

    Here’s to hoping that I’m wrong, but even more so to hoping that District 35 voters will see the better candidate in Clarke Tucker, both in his message and his comportment in this campaign. He will be a force in Arkansas politics, if not nationally. Mark my words!

    • PeanutButterandJelly says:

      What a cowardly thing to do and an obvious tool for Hurst’s campaign – supplying her with a mailer to send to District voters. If you’re such a good “Democrat” and truly believe in Clarke Tucker and his abilities as a public servant, what kind of message are you sending to him and other solid potential Democratic candidates thinking about running in the near future? You have done a tremendous disservice to Tucker and the Democratic party in general by putting this “I surrender” attitude out there. Ditto the FuzzyLogic comment above – Clarke Tucker has continued to focus on his platform, issue by issue, running a highly respectable and positive campaign, supported by convictions and knowledge and experience that will truly serve the needs of all Arkansans. Meanwhile, his opponent has focused on manipulation and negative attacks; it seems as though she doesn’t have any real convictions of her own, always putting her finger to the wind to follow the “path of least resistance” with her only measure of accountability to satisfy those with deep pockets who continually support her candidacy. Nothing about this political tool surprises me b/c it’s obvious that you and Hurst go together like peanut butter and jelly – throwing convictions to the wind and instead choosing to take the easy route – her with her candidacy and you with your vote. Do us all a favor and please don’t say you’re a Democrat anymore. All the Democrats I proudly stand with would never be so cowardly, especially in such an important election cycle.

  3. A says:

    No guys, I swear, these robot overlords are going to be really pro-human. They told me privately! This is probably going to be a tough year for the human race, so let’s just go with a bot that will be in the “room” (Imperial Chamber). Just lay down your swords and plug this jack into your back.

  4. All: I respect your disagreements with my support for Hurst’s candidacy, and you certainly may continue to voice them here on my blog, or on Arktimes.com, as some are doing. But I do want to make the factual record clear: I wrote this piece and the Hurst campaign subsequently asked if they could put it in a mailer—not the other way around. I stand by my words so I had no objection, but I have no affiliation with the Hurst campaign and was never asked to write this by anybody.

    Also, I get that the issues with the school and the mailer look bad. First, I think people are making a bigger deal out of the Forest Park issue than is really warranted. I definitely see some bad things by a few people who work for the school district, but it has hardly been proven that Hurst had any involvement in that. And at no time did she ever “go after” Tucker’s children.

    Second, Stacy Hurst also has categorically denied to me personally any involvement with that horrible mailer involving Clarke Tucker representing a criminal defendant. Until it comes out that she lied to me, and it definitely hasn’t, I’m going to stick by her.

    Lastly, I’m hardly impressed when I’m called “cowardly” by an anonymous commenter. I’m also not impressed by blind loyalty to the Democratic party. If you want Republicans to start working with Democrats, you have to be willing yourself to work with Republicans.

    I’ll stand by that publicly.

  5. WR says:

    First of all, the “school thing” is a HUGE deal. Maybe it’s because it didn’t happen to your child or because you don’t have children. But the fact that at the very least Hurst was investigating the child is completely unacceptable.  There is absolutely nothing about that situation that is any of her business. She was asked 3 times why she FOIAd for the child’s school information and each time she gave a different answer, all of which were ridiculous. First she was investigating it because of rumors she had been hearing at her cocktail parties…stupid and none of her business. Then she claimed she was vetting the prek mailer…lie because the FOIAs began 5 days before the mailer went out.  Finally, she said that she had been contacted by other people on the waiting list and wanted to make sure the Tuckers weren’t trying to get special treatment…ridiculous claim that people on the waiting list were calling her and again, none of her business.  

    In addition to her ridiculous excuses about why she FOIAd information about Tucker’s son…

    -Clint Reed tweeted about Tucker and “special treatment” on 8/6.  

    -The Tuckers were “offered admission to his second choice school in violation of established LRSD student assignment procedures” on 8/13 according to LRSD attorney. 

    -An LRSD employee and school board member forwarded confidential information about Tucker’s child to a supporter of Hurst.  

    -Then FOIA request #3 turned right around and specifically asked for the information that had been inappropriately and unethically shared.  

    -While this is happening,  Clint Reed tweeted on  8/20 about “evidence” proving that Tucker’s prek mailer was false…he tweeted about “evidence” that they didn’t get until 8/25. So how did he know about this so called evidence 5 days before they FOIAd for it…oh yeah bc a lrsd employee and school board member forwarded it to Hurst’s people either directly or indirectly on  8/13… the day the Tuckers declined the fake spot. 

    As for the mailer, I can’t say I’m surprised she denied any involvement. However, on 7/18 Clint Reed tweeted “btw who is @clarketucker springing out of jail today”.  Also, Max Brantley was told by a representative of her campaign weeks before that mailer surfaced, that Tucker was going to be facing criticism for representing a criminal defendant. If her campaign didn’t have anything to do with the mailer, then how did they know he would soon face criticism for it?  Also, since the ransom note mailer, there have been several push polls (paid for by Stacy Hurst) using the exact same language, as well as more 2 more mailers on the same subject. 

    Party affiliation aside,  I look at the two candidates and compare the campaigns each has run. Hurst has been negative and focused on trying to make Tucker look bad. Often her attempts to do so have backfired and she has had to defend her actions and the actions of those surrounding her campaign. She has conducted several push polls attempting to scare people into voting for her claiming Tucker is soft on crime.  She spends her time chasing people down who have disagreed with her on social media or that have shown support for her opponent. Tucker, on the other hand, is putting in the work. He is out there in the community going door to door meeting the people and discussing the issues. His mailers describe his stance on the issues and they include his picture as well as his family, his supporters, etc. He promotes himself 100% of the time. Despite all her negativity, Tucker has conducted himself with integrity and class throughout this entire race.  And that is why I am proud to give my Republican vote to Clarke Tucker! 

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