ArkProject Debate Squad: Van Gorder vs. Breedlove

Republican John Van Gorder
Republican John Van Gorder
Democrat Steve Breedlove
Democrat Steve Breedlove

Let’s try something new today: The Arkansas Project is going to try out a new “Debate Squad” feature with a special focus on Arkansas legislative races. First up: Arkansas House District 67, where Democratic Rep. Steve Breedlove faces off against scrappy GOP upstart John Van Gorder.

This race saw a little action yesterday when the Sebastian County Republican Party issued a press release hitting Breedlove as being “out of touch” with District 67 voters for allegedly helping to kill the gay adoption ban in the House in 2007. You can read that release here at this blog I’ve never heard of. Says Sebastian County GOP chief Jake Files:

Steve Breedlove ran for the state House two years ago as a social conservative. But after being elected, Breedlove helped kill legislation that would have prevented homosexuals from adopting children and serving as foster parents, a measure strongly supported by the people of Arkansas and an initiated act on the ballot in November.

Breedlove threw back a little heat of his own. In a counter news release, which you can read here at the Under the Dome blog,

Breedlove explained that the vote Files refers to was a committee vote taken in the afternoon while Breedlove was on his way back to Greenwood to teach a Bible study class. “I put my responsibilities to my church first,” Breedlove commented. “My vote wouldn’t have made a difference anyway. The measure was seven votes short and never in danger of passing.”

Blogger Jason Tolbert, wanting to get to the bottom of this dispute, issued his “Tolbert Challenge,” asking both candidates to fill out voter surveys from the Arkansas Family Council and Arkansas Right to Life to detail their positions on a range of issues. (Update: Tolbert has now received responses, kind of, from both candidates, and is making the results available here.)

Now: Let’s turn it over to the debate squad. What’s the lowdown on this race? What are the local dynamics? Who will emerge victorious on election day? What should I have for lunch?

Let’s go to the comments section for debate, rumor mongering, merciless smears and other fun stuff. GOP and Democratic commenters are welcomed and encouraged to stand by your man.

Take it away, team.

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29 thoughts on “ArkProject Debate Squad: Van Gorder vs. Breedlove

  • October 9, 2008 at 9:13 am
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    Can we begin by addressing John’s choice of attire? The maroon dress shirt…really?

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  • October 9, 2008 at 9:27 am
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    Breedlove has a serious problem on his hands. He serves in a district that is overwhelmingly Republican, and he won in 2006 by less than 200 votes against a very weak opponent.

    Breedlove is going to have to answer voters on why he didn’t vote to ban gay adoption when he had the chance. His release says that he was on his way home to lead a bible study during the committee vote, but he is leaving out the fact that there was a committee meeting that same morning where he could have voted for the ban. Breedlove’s excuse that he was doing the “Lord’s” work rings kind of hollow when you know that he skipped two votes on this issue. Was he leading a prayer breakfast that morning? Is that why he skipped the first committee vote?

    Additionally, it is hard to believe that Breedlove is serious about banning gay adoption when he takes political contributions from Kathy Webb. Webb is an open lesbian and has been the legislature’s most outspoken opponent of banning gay adoption. Why would Kathy Webb give money to Breedlove if she thought he really wanted to ban gay adoption.

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  • October 9, 2008 at 9:36 am
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    As I understand it, that measure would have banned all unmarried couples from fostering or adopting–not just gay folks. The mesaure never even made it out of committee. And it seems the governor, AG, and lots of judges are against this act the Sebastian GOP thinks is so wildly popular.

    I dunno…sounds like typical political bluster. I am a moderate that leans left to be sure, but I always kind of thought Breedlove was more of a conservative. Sounds like these folks want a GOP person no matter what–even if the guy representing them now does a pretty good job.

    **I readily admit I may be missing something.**

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  • October 9, 2008 at 9:37 am
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    Van Goober has probably been watching reruns of “Millionaire” back when Regis was at the helm….and still thinks that what to wear when occasion calls for a tie.

    The good news is that Files and co. are trying something different…talking about gay people!!! Man oh man, oh what ever will happen here?? Will people give a shit what someone goes on in a strangers bedroom when that bedroom was just foreclosed on??

    oh, and I just realized why he’s wearing the maroon shirt….its Clintons fault!!!

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  • October 9, 2008 at 9:44 am
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    Breedlove thinks he can skate thru…He is in for a surprise…people in greenwood see right thru him…and he doesn’t even know its coming…

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  • October 9, 2008 at 9:49 am
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    Br549 is right, the people of this state love homosexuality. In fact, in Greenwood they have a huge gay pride parade. This state is so gay friendly that the people overwhelmingly voted down an amendment to ban gay marriage.

    Oh wait, none of those things are true. Breedlove really does need to worry about this issue.

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  • October 9, 2008 at 9:56 am
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    I guess it was too much to hope that this would be a real discussion. Folks just love beatin up gay folks even when there isn’t a true “gay issue” to debate.

    I just checked, and the act referenced by the county GOP definitely bans all gay and STRAIGHT unmarried couples from adopting. A simple Google search also told me that the Dept of Human Services is reviewing the current policy because it’s not in the best interest of children. Lots of conservative people are lining up against the Act, too.

    Back to the Times blog for me. I’d rather deal with liberals that get on my nerves than conservatives that get on my nerves. The libs aren’t so mean spirited at least.

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  • October 9, 2008 at 10:03 am
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    Feel free to pop by any time, rockstar. You’ll always be welcome.
    D.

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  • October 9, 2008 at 10:04 am
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    Is there a required wide stance to participate in this gay pride parade in Greenwood? Can you wear your “I support Mark Foley” buttons? Or, “I’m a 27%er”?

    Bill, face it. yall are in a mess.

    also, who really cares if breedlove wins or loses? ooooh, so the D’s will only have 74 seats….hell, who cares if the D’s lose 10, 15 seats…. you think that the R’s that win won’t vote for Beebe’s budget?

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  • October 9, 2008 at 10:17 am
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    I think that Van Gorder will be helped by the McCain/Obama race. While it looks like, nationally McCain will get trounced – I can promise you that in Breedlove’s district, McCain will win going away and could carry Van Gorder into a victory. Files next press release should be to ask Breedlove if he supports the Democrat nominee for President.

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  • October 9, 2008 at 10:28 am
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    Not sure I understand the whole topic that was up for discussion in that committee, and to some extent care very little. But it does seem like there is something fishy going on with Breedlove ducking out on votes and maybe lying about what he was up to. That is something that I do care about.

    Is that how the so-called conservative Democrats get away with saying one thing but really do another, by skipping out on votes that is in essence a vote against conservative legislation? Hell, even Barak Obama at least voted “present” in a sleezy cowardly effort to avoid taking a tough stand. But skipping out on conservative votes? How much MORE cowardly than Barak Obama do you have to be before everyone loses complete respect for you?

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  • October 9, 2008 at 11:27 am
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    I think something is being missed here by the Democrats, Breedlove says he is for banning gay adoption. If he is in favor of banning gay adoption why did he skip both votes where he could have shown his support? He has an “excuse” for missing the afternoon vote, but why couldn’t he show up for the morning vote? And, if he is so anti-gay adoption, why did he take money from Kathy Webb?

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  • October 9, 2008 at 1:52 pm
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    You are not on the fence when it comes to gay adoption. You feel very strongly about it one way or the other. If he was really against gay adoption then he would have been there to vote. If I were an elected official I would definitely be there to make sure the people in my district were represented. The good lord would have let him miss a bible study or two to keep kids away from homosexual adoption.

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  • October 9, 2008 at 8:14 pm
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    really……the shirt??? that is what you are concerned about, unfortunatly you are the type of people out there voting……..our country is in a crisis and you care if he is wearing a maroon shirt……where do i begin, the gay issue is not even the ISSUE the issue is that he left when he was being paid not to…..and let me see…have you been living under a rock? him and his buddy arranged a back door vote to shove this water thing down our throat even though people have been saying NO….or how about his latest after spending 50 thousand of our money they came up with no new coal fired plants until 2020…………nice!!!

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  • October 9, 2008 at 8:24 pm
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    get em john….i am tired of politicians saying one thing and then doing another……if you were to read breedloves nice little colums you would vote for him to be pope…..however check his record in little rock….yea, a little different…………..those are the things he is not teling you.

    oh, mr breedlove if you can not figure out how to balance your job of preacher and politican, maybe you need to stop doing one……my church comes first, that is awesome, however my tax dollars are not paying you to preach

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  • October 9, 2008 at 8:48 pm
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    well i do agree that there is more to this then vangorders shirt, however, i can not let it go….to the maroon haters: i am guessing that your dress up attire is you wear the bibs to your overalls up and clipped or better yet you are the one that is having a hard time seeing through the tape on your glasses…..anyway, i like the shirt and if you walked in a real store you know other than walmart, you would see that maroon is really ok, you can do it, you can wear another color other than white……….but i guess you would know better, i mean i am the one in design classes, what would i know.

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  • October 9, 2008 at 11:01 pm
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    rockstar:

    Does a pretty good job??? Get your head out of your butt!!!

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  • October 10, 2008 at 8:57 am
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    Rockstar:

    “The libs aren’t so mean spirited at least.”

    Get your head out of your butt!!!

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  • October 10, 2008 at 10:46 am
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    Bryce:
    Libs aren’t so mean spitited? Excuse me? Do you live under a rock? Do you own a television? And if you do do you turn it on? Have you even read any of the above? Mr. Breedlove does not even know who to attack. Which election is he in, this one with Van Gorder or the last one with Purifoy? And, it is always funny how the libs attack and then say the other side is negative. What I read is Mr. Files was calling Mr Breedlove out on the carpet for just ONE of his many items that he should explain and Mr. Van Gorder did not even have his name signed to this and the next thing you know Mr. Breedlove is calling Van Gorder a liar???? A liar, it is hard to lie when you do not even speak. Maybe Van Gorder is a magician?? I am sorry I must have gotten a differnt press release then Breedlove. If mean spirited means making Mr. Breedlove answer questions that pertain to MY FUTURE….Then way to go Mr. Files at least you care about ME and MY FAMILY!!!!

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  • October 10, 2008 at 11:16 am
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    Bryce

    Unfortunaly “Rockstar” is one of the many out there thinking politicans are do a “pretty good job” and it is very frustrating when you “know things” I do not take VOTING lightly and investigate who I am voting for. I have spent time investigating both Breedlove and Van Gorder and let me tell you that statement “pretty good job” yikes!!!! I am not sure what he is basing his informatin on. Hopefully not the items HE (breedlove)prints everyweek, because let me tell you, you want to know the REAL Breedlove then you need to see what he does in Little Rock as YOUR REPRESENTATIVE….then maybe rockstar and alike will say different. There are MANY LIES going on and it is on Breedlove’s side, instead of just taking peoples word for it, research. And, the vote that Breedlove went against Beebe on that he is so proud of, yeah, There are MANY, not just one or two, MANY that heard him say “Sorry Mike, I gotta race to win and since my vote would not have changed things, WHEN I get re-elected you can count on my vote next time”….NICE!!!

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  • October 10, 2008 at 11:29 am
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    So is Breedlove now totally sold out and beholden to Beebe? Just what we need. Another puppet who will not challenge the growing corruption and consolidation of power into the hands of just a few.

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  • October 10, 2008 at 11:43 am
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    Whoooo guys! I am on your side.

    “The libs aren’t so mean spirited at least.”

    Get your head out of your butt!!!

    See the part were I tell him to get his head out of his butt?

    I thought I was pretty clear with my intentions on that post.

    I have never aid I think politicans “do a pretty good job”

    Relax people.

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  • October 10, 2008 at 11:50 am
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    Bryce

    Yep, got it wrong, scarcasm…oh, duh….

    apology?….please except?

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  • October 10, 2008 at 11:59 am
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    No problem Frankie.

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  • October 10, 2008 at 11:59 am
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    can someone please tell me, has breedlove responded to the accusations of him taking most of his campaign money from “special interest” he has even taken money from lobbiest “out of the state” …who again is he representing?

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  • October 10, 2008 at 12:08 pm
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    Hillary:

    I would say so…… Breedlove himself said Beebe is coming to do a fundraiser for him instead of meeting with Hillary Clinton; And lets get to the real reason he does not want to go “on record”, if you go on record then you might loose a vote. Yes you are right we do not need any more puppets. Lets get the word out VOTE VANGORDER….if anyone has ever followed vangorder, you will know he is anything but a puppet…lets get him to Little Rock………….

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  • November 2, 2008 at 4:55 pm
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    vangorder rocks!!!!!!!!! he is the man for the job.

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