LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Mike Beebe will lead a get-out-the-vote tour in northeastern Arkansas this weekend, the state Democratic Party announced Wednesday, as part of a final push to help Democrats fight off a Republican bid to take control of the Legislature in Tuesday’s general election.
State Democrats have largely pinned their hopes for retaining traditional state House and Senate majorities on Beebe, whose name won’t top the Democratic ticket in the election but who remains a popular Democratic governor in a state where polls say voters increasingly favor Republicans.
The party said Beebe would headline rallies and greet residents in Jonesboro, Paragould and Pocahontas "for candidates who will work to continue Arkansas’ success story by continuing to create jobs, strengthen K-12 education, cut taxes and balance our state budget."
"It’s the last Saturday before the election. Just go to several places and rally the troops," the govenor said Wednesday.
Throughout this year’s general election season, the Democratic Party has held up Beebe and Democratic leadership in the Legislature as a standard — even as Republicans have tried to link local Democrats to federal health reform and other policies of President Obama, who is widely unpopular in the state.
In Jonesboro, Beebe will stump for several candidates Saturday, including Harold Copenhaver, the Democratic challenger to state Rep. Jon Hubbard, R-Jonesboro, who has gained national attention because of his comments in a self-published book that slavery was a "blessing in disguise" for blacks.
Hubbard also compared the governor and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel to Nazis in a letter to the Jonesboro newspaper. Beebe called Hubbard’s comments in his letter "sad" and suggested they could hinder future economic development in the lawmaker’s hometown.
State Sen. Robert Thompson of Paragould will also join Beebe for portions of the GOTV tour, as will Reps. Butch Wilkins of Bono and James Ratliff of Imboden, and House candidates Scott Baltz of Pocahontas, Mary Broadaway of Paragould and L.J. Bryant of Grubbs.