Perennial Democratic candidate Drew Pritt sends along word that he, too, will join the ever-expanding universe of Arkansas people who think that Sen. Blanche Lincoln must be replaced. Full text of Pritt’s news release is at the jump.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact : Drew Pritt at firstname.lastname@example.org
Drew Pritt, a political activist and small business owner, has decided to provide a “progressive” primary challenge to incumbent U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas.
“The fact remains we are at a historic moment in our country’s history. So it’s very upsetting, when we see a Democratic U.S. Senator who doesn’t support a public option for health care reform. It’s very upsetting when we see a Democratic U.S. Senator who doesn’t support the Employee Free Choice Act. It’s very upsetting when we see a Democratic U.S. Senator who waivers and waffles on basic civil rights. And the only explanation that is given is, she is a Senator from the deep South,” says Pritt. “Well I am a Bible Belt Liberal from Arkansas and I am proud to support EFCA, to support a Public Option for Health Care Reform, and it’s time for the GLBT Community to have someone in the Deep South voting for the Matthew Shephard Act. We need to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell….NOW!”
Pritt, who ran an abortive bid for Lt. Governor of Arkansas in 2006, understands the burden that lays before him. He is starting a campaign with very little funding and facing an incumbent who has millions of dollars in her campaign war chest. However, Pritt, who once marched with Doris Haddock for Campaign Finance Reform says money should not be the single determining factor in who is elected U.S. Senator.
“I am concerned when I see a dirth of conservatives running to oppose Senator Lincoln and the only Democrat to have made an effort to challenge her in the primary is a conservative Democrat. I have waited on a good progressive like Ret. General Wesley Clark, U.S. Congressman Vic Snyder, former State Supreme Court Justice Wendell Griffen, or State Senator Joyce Elliott to step forward. I even waited on Lt. Governor Bill Halter to step up to the plate. The fact is, none of these true blue Democrats are running or willing to step up to the plate. Someone has to be the gadfly and thats a badge I wear with honor,” says Pritt.
Pritt says his bid may not be successful, but he says it might, and says that recent political trends suggest that there is an opportunity.
“The Tea Party’s suggest the Democrats are not the only party where people in the party are unhappy with compromise. In upper state New York, a “Conservative” is poised to upset a Republican who veered too far away from the party’s base. Lets not forget in Connecticut, a true blue Democrat defeated Joe Lieberman in the primary. The simple fact is this….if you run as a Democrat in Arkansas, you should vote as a Democrat in Washington, D.C., pure and simple,” says Pritt.
Pritt has earned the moniker of being a gadfly from Max Brantley, editor of the Arkansas Times during and after his bid for Lt. Governor. Pritt says he used to be irked by that term till he realized what a gadfly is and their role in society.
“Gandhi, Mandela, Dr. King, and many more were gadflys. They made a change that was for the better in society,” said Pritt.
He also recognizes that his mere presence in the realm of politics disturbs some people.
“Last time that I ran for Lt. Governor, they started a hate-page so that when you Google my name you get a wiki page filled with a lot of gossip, lies, and hate-filled propaganda. When I ran last time, I had an operative from one of the other primary campaigns admit he leaked negative stories about me. It really surprises me at the ferocity but the way some people who are so scared of change or so disturbed by people who speak out that they use underhanded means to try to knock them down. I am not perfect. I have made mistakes, but the fact remains we need a public option for health care, we need to pass EFCA, and we need to rid ourselves of DADT and other anti-civil rights laws that are in place. I have learned to dodge bullets and take stabs in the back and keep moving forward. I am sure it’s a quality that will serve me well if I ever get to the U.S. Senate,” jokes Pritt.
Pritt may not have won the Lt. Governor’s office in 2006, but he says he made a discernible impact. Though largely outspent by all his Democratic primary opponents, Pritt garnered more earned media than most of his opponents combined. Pritt also broke a barrier in Arkansas by becoming the first member of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Communities to seek statewide office.
In 2009, he started two organizations that benefit the GLBT Community. MsTer Gay America New is a pageant system for women who do the art of male impersonation. Pritt says he saw a huge market for female impersonation (drag queen) but not a lot of equality or opportunity for women. So he started a system for women who take part in that artform. He also started Equality Arkansas which recently garnered some press.
“Equality Arkansas is really an effort by myself to provide a group to help defeat anti-discriminatory measures while at the same time providing a voice for those who are in the GLBT Community who are not as activist but believe our community needs one more voice speaking out against intolerance and injustice,” says Pritt.
Pritt organized with other groups a counter protest to the recent visit to UALR’s campus by the Westboro Baptist Church. But Pritt says that counter protest was more an indication of the growing support for the GLBT Community.
Pritt is an avid sportsman; enjoying hunting and fishing. He also loves Arkansas Razorback sports, American League baseball, is a gourmet cook, and reading. He is a member of the CHI PHI Fraternity, the oldest social fraternity in the country. He currently resides in Little Rock where he is an active member of Epsicopal Diocese of Arkansas. He is a member of the Lions Club, the Arkansas Democratic Party, Stonewall Democrats, the Arkansas Black Democratic Caucus, the Arkansas Hispanic Democratic Caucus, the National Cathedral Association, the National Rifle Association, and Diamond State Rodeo Association.