Republican politics were the main course for the annual Lonoke County Republican Committee Lincoln Day Dinner, held Saturday at Cabot Junior High School South cafeteria.
Speakers on the night were First District Congressman Rick Crawford and Fourth District Congressman Tom Cotton. Cotton is campaigning for election to the U.S. Senate seat now held by Mark Pryor; Crawford is seeking re-election.
Vince Scarlata, Lonoke County Republican Committee chairman, was Master of Ceremony; guests included Republican State Chairman Doyle Webb, and First District Republican chairman Benny Speaks.
Cotton and Crawford kept to the theme of it being a “great time to be a Republican in Arkansas.”
“The bench for Republicans is so deep and Lonoke County has been a huge part of that,” Crawford remarked. While Lonoke County has had a Republican primary for more than 10 years, it has not been that way in other areas, he said.
Until recently, there was no Republican primary in Craighead County, until this year, Crawford said. And in recent elections, in a previous Democrat stronghold, “Our guy won with 57 percent,” Crawford said.
This is a great time to be a Republican in Arkansas, Crawford said. “This state has come a long, long way.”
Republicans are taking control with better candidates and greater organization. “We need to make sure we do not leave it to a lower quality candidate on the other side because we stayed home,” Crawford remarked.
Webb introduced Congressman Cotton.
Cotton warned about news commentary that the Republican Party is divided. “Is it really a great time to be a Republican? Just look at what is happening here in Arkansas,” he remarked.
Four years ago, Republicans held no statewide office; hardly a quarter of the state House and Senate were Republican; of the four seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, only one was Republican, Cotton said.
Since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was put in place, Republicans now hold three of the four U.S. House seats, Republicans hold a majority in the state House and Senate. And November holds the promise of both U.S. Senate seats being held by Republicans, Cotton said.
“How far have we come in four years…” Cotton asked.
“I predict that for the first time in modern era Arkansas, that we will have more Republican primary voters in May than Democrat voters,” Cotton said.
But there is one reason “above all” that it is a good time to be Republican, Cotton said. “It’s called ‘Obamacare.’ That law has revealed everything that is wrong with Washington, D.C., and everything that is wrong with the Democratic Party that supports the liberal agenda,” he said.
As more people feel the impact of the law, the shift away from the Democratic Party will increase, Cotton predicted.