Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Close Call in Benton County

Aaron Burke has won a state rep. seat here in conservative Benton county. Congratulations to him. His Democratic opponent has withdrawn from the race due to legal troubles related to cheating workers on wages (how about that party of the workin' man?) and possible trouble related to the hiring of illegal aliens. The Democrats are unable to find a substitute candidate at this stage of the race.

Burke now joins the more than 70% of the state legislative races that are unopposed. That in itself should be cause for concern. Not just to Republicans, or to Democrats, but to all of us. No one can make a rational case that this is a healthy situation, or that over 70% of the races are unopposed represents an electorate that is highly satisfied with the current two-party system. Instead, it is a reflection of the fact that the system is broken and desperately needs more competition.

Benton county is largely republican and so Burke was quite likely to have won in any case, but suppose by some tragedy it was Burke who had to withdraw? In that case it is very probable that the conservatives of Benton county would be represented by the liberal Democrat Robin Tummey. There were no other choices available. My point is that there should be. I look forward to the day when most seats are contested in November, hopefully by several people.


Blogger Steve Harrelson said...

I'll give you my unsolicited, humble opinion -- I think it's term limits. I had a nice Republican call me about a year ago to tell me that he was going to run against me, but after considering his prospects, he decided it would be much easier to fight for an open seat than it would be to run against an incumbent.

Why go through the trouble of fighting against the power of incumbency if all you have to do is wait 2 or 4 years and run for an open seat? On the flip side of that, however, you have to acknowledge that term limits at least forces open seats, which is good if you're seeking new ideas and leadership. The downside, of course, is the loss of institutional knowledge.

While I don't think it's necessarily right, I do think term limits is a valid reason many would-be candidates will keep their powder dry for an election cycle or two.

7:09 PM, September 13, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

I had not considered that. But I would think that should apply only on the house side. For senate, you would have several termed-out house members in each district, plus whoever else thinks they can hack it.

It seems like even some of the open seats don't have two candidates, much less more than two in case something happened like we see in Benton County.

7:32 PM, September 13, 2006  
Blogger Mr. Toast said...

Good points, guys.

State legislative races nation wide are unopposed around 55% of the time on average. I'd be interested in seeing a comparison of the percentage of unopposed "elections" in states with term limits and states without them; I'd also like to zero in on the open seats specifically in order to better assess the problem.

7:53 PM, September 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the CP were a real party one would think they would have at least fielded a candidate in the conservative Benton County like the Greens do in liberal Pulaski County.

8:18 PM, September 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blah, blah, blah...

Do you have anything intelligent to add to this discussion?

9:08 PM, September 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe you did not catch the news, the bunch that runs this blog disaffiliated from the national CP. Saw some troubles. It was in an earlier post.

4:25 AM, September 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, they could still run candidates for office had they gotten the additional thousands of signatures required by Arkansas law of "third" parties.

However, this article is not about the Constitution Party in particular.

9:02 AM, September 14, 2006  

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