ArkProject Debate Squad: Baker vs. White

Democrat Joe White
Democrat Joe White

Last week we tried our first Arkansas Project Debate Squad experiment with a look at the race in District 67 between Rep. Steve Breedlove and John Van Gorder. I was pleased with the response, so let’s do it again.

Today, let’s focus in on the big race in central Arkansas, where Republican Sen. Gilbert Baker is slugging it out with Democratic challenger Joe White. This has been the premier race in the state in 2008, which isn’t saying much, leading columnist John Brummett to ask in a weekend column, “What the hell?” (It’s also one of only two contested Senate races in the state this year.)

Baker, music director for a Baptist church in Conway, has held the seat since 2001. From 2004 to 2007, he served as chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas, though he’s commanded support from some big name Democrats in this race, including the Senate Majority Leader Bob Johnson.

Republican Sen. Gilbert Baker
Republican Sen. Gilbert Baker

White is a local businessman who has been active in local politics now in his first run for office, but he’s got some big guns behind him, too—notably Gov. Mike Beebe.

In a dull year for Arkansas politics, the District 30 race is one of the few to offer much entertainment value through the contenders’ punches and counterpunches. We’ve covered some of the back and forth here at the Arkansas Project: Two weeks ago, White hit Baker in an anonymous mailing on Baker’s closeness to fallen University of Central Arkansas president Lu Hardin. Baker hit back, saying that White is “mud-slinging.”

Both sides appear to be polling. White told Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter Seth Blomeley that he’s down by just two points (subscription required), while Baker claims a 15 point lead. I’m going to surmise that both sides are exaggerating and that it’s closer than that, with Baker up by a few points—comfortable, but not insurmountable for White.

Both sides are running TV ads—here’s a taste.

OK, so there’s a quick snapshot of the race. Now, over to you, Arkansas Project Debate Squad: Time to stand by your man. Where does this race go in the next three weeks? Does Baker hold his lead? Can White keep it competitive and pull it over the top?

Let’s fight it out in the comments section. You’re up.

Please follow and like us:

11 thoughts on “ArkProject Debate Squad: Baker vs. White

  • October 14, 2008 at 11:36 am
    Permalink

    Does anyone seriously think that Gilbert isn’t going to win this race? Gilbert is an amazing candidate, who pulls in dedicated supporters from all parts of Faulkner County. With McCain and Obama leading the ticket combined with Gilbert’s GOTV I don’t see how he can’t win by 8 or 9 points.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2008 at 11:40 am
    Permalink

    Baker is the favorite but he has been doing alot of stupid things. Like when he did that press conference to bitch about Joe White sending out negative attack mailings. That only drew more attention to the attacks. Baker will probably win but it will be closer than alot of people think.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2008 at 1:10 pm
    Permalink

    Bill, judging by the lack of response thus far, I suspect you may be right.
    D.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2008 at 1:29 pm
    Permalink

    There are some legislative races coming up in the next month that I am nervous about, that are inherently unpredictable. Gilbert’s election is not one of these. I just don’t see any credible argument against the idea that he will win and win big.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2008 at 2:01 pm
    Permalink

    Well, there is at least one arguement. That people dont like Obama or McCain and that they stay home. With the suppossed increase of the youth vote that is expected to occur this time out, it is possible that ole Gilbert gets beat. Incumbents arent exactly popular either this year. I think i recently saw that only 7% of people think that this country is headed in the right direction….that doesnt bode well for Baker.

    And I always love when the NRA endorses a republican with no hunting license (or never has even had one) over a life long member of the NRA who owns many guns and hunts regularly. Thats good stuff there.

    Just to be the onery opposition here, I say that White wins.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2008 at 2:17 pm
    Permalink

    Dan, quit teasing us and tell us which races are you nervous about.

    Br549, I don’t buy the argument that someone without a hunting license can’t be strongly pro-second amendment. That is like saying a man can’t be pro-life since he has never had a baby. To use a timely expression, that dog just don’t hunt.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2008 at 4:28 pm
    Permalink

    Tolbert,

    I didnt say that they couldn’t be strongly pro second amendment. But, just for the sake of discussion–if the democrat didnt have a hunting license, wasnt a member of the NRA, and didnt own a cabinet full of guns– you just might have a difficult time believing that he was a strong pro amendment guy just because he said so, no?

    (That was one long ass sentence. My english teacher would not have been proud.)

    And, since you mentioned it, riddle me this. Why do Republicans want less government involvement in our lives when it comes to business and guns, yet they want MORE government involvement when it comes to your bedroom and womens rights? Im not particularly interested in the merits pro or con of any of those issues, yet im looking for an explanation of the apparent contradiction in general philosophy.

    So, do you want more or less government?

    Reply
  • October 14, 2008 at 4:52 pm
    Permalink

    Well, I will not be presumptuous enough to speak for all Republicans but when you say “they want MORE government involvement when it comes to your bedroom and womens rights,” I assume you are talking about the individuals’ right “granted” by Roe v Wade to kill their unborn children. In this case, I have trouble seeing how any rational human being can be in favor of this. I am of the belief that it is a proper role of government to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty (I know I read that somewhere) and not to redistribute wealth through governmental programs.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2008 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    “Why do Republicans want less government involvement in our lives when it comes to business and guns, yet they want MORE government involvement when it comes to your bedroom and womens rights?”

    I will answer you when you tell me how Democrats can protest at Varner when the execute a scumbag and then scream at the top of there voices about a womans right to kill a baby.

    “if the democrat didnt have a hunting license, wasnt a member of the NRA, and didnt own a cabinet full of guns– you just might have a difficult time believing that he was a strong pro amendment guy just because he said so, no?”

    That is actually a pretty good argument but I think people in general trust the Republican party a whole lot more with their gun rights than they do the Democrats, thus it is easier to believe it when a Republican says he is pro 2nd amendment.

    Reply
  • October 15, 2008 at 8:53 am
    Permalink

    Again, I didnt want to debate the merits, or lack thereof, of the abortion issue as a whole. We will likely never agree on what that arguement is all about, much less who is right.

    Ill agree with Bryce on his second response–the NRA has done a tremendously successful job at convincing gun owners that Democrats want to take their guns away. Brilliant, brilliant manuever.

    However, I’m still not sure. Do you want more government or less?

    And Bill, that is one awesome shot. Who is that guy?

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *