For the first time since anyone can remember, no Republicans or Democrats from Sebastian County will be attending the parties’ respective national conventions, reports Aaron Sadler of the Arkansas News Bureau. Several interviewees point to high travel costs, but it wouldn’t be an Arkansas political story if it didn’t include a nod to the perennial war between some northwesternish Republicans and the state GOP:
Former Republican National Committeewoman Peggy Jeffries of Fort Smith has a more pointed view as to why Sebastian County GOP faithful had no interest.
“We just have become too independent for them up here and we’re not involved,” said Jeffries, a former state senator. “We’ve been disappointed at the state and national level … Everybody has just kind of had so many discouragements they don’t have time to worry with it right now.”
Jeffries said Republicans in Sebastian County disagree with the state party on immigration. Jeffries wants the party to be tougher on border control.
An archconservative, Jeffries said activists in the mold of former presidential strategist Karl Rove have “undermined and brutalized” some GOP loyalists from western Arkansas.
State Republican Party Chairman Dennis Milligan disputed Jeffries’ claim of friction between Fort Smith and Little Rock Republicans.
“Sometimes, people carry grudges for various reasons,” Milligan said.