Friday, September 28, 2012

I Make the Morning News

As readers of this space will know, I am running as an Independent to serve in the Arkansas legislature.   Today this prompted a column from Steve Brawner.

Here is an excerpt from the middle, which is much more true to what I was trying to convey than either the start or the end of the column....

His website says he is pro-life, pro-gun rights, pro-property rights, and pro-local, limited government. That sounds like a Republican, so I asked him why he didn’t just put an “R” by his name and give himself a better chance in a district dominated by that party. 
He couldn’t do that, he told me, because he believes legislators should be beholden only to their constituents, not their parties, which have been corrupted by money. Too often, he said, elected officials follow the dictates of their out-of-state party leaders instead of the people they represent.
While party labels may be necessary for statewide races, he said the Legislature is the branch of government closest to the people. If mayors can run as independents, so can state legislators.
I might have added that the record shows that Republicans don't actually do any of that when in office, but he accurately reported what I did say on that issue.    Now, there were a couple of areas where I thought the article, perhaps more through my fault rather than his, needed clarification.   If you do link over and read the article, please be sure to read my clarification on it given below....

Steve, first of all, I apologize for repeatedly calling you by another name in our phone conversation the other day. Secondly, I want to clarify a couple of items in your column (I blame myself not you for the lack of clarity).
When I said I quit my job to run, that was just last month. "Earlier this year" makes it sound like I have just been running for office all Summer. And in my business it is very typical for agents to change companies and projects. We pick up and drop projects on a regular basis. I got a birthday card from a company for which I have never worked this month, If you are willing to go on the road, the work is there. I want people to know that I was not being so reckless as the column implies- again I could have made the timing and circumstances more clear to you in our talk.
Secondly, as we discussed, though none of the bills I drafted directly became law, the exact changes one of my bills would have made was later imposed on the state by a court ruling- just as I predicted. The legislators then codified pretty much the same thing I was trying to get done. A second bill, the one designed to provide better educational opportunities to autistic children, was one vote away from a "do-pass" recommendation, and I believe it will pass next time.
Thirdly, I may have undersold the amount of campaign contributions I was getting. Counting in-kind contributions, I have raised about $4,000 and she has raised about $13,500. If you look at her last couple of contribution reports, she is now raising money almost solely from special interests and lobby groups. That's where I can't compete. I have to rely on citizens who either know me or have had enough of the way things are done now. I don't consider her nearly 4-1 edge insurmountable, but I did not want to pretend I was happy about those numbers either. I'm no spin, and maybe you were used to spin so when I said I had not raised much you may have thought I really hadn't raised any.
Kind regards,
Mark Moore


Blogger Steve Brawner said...

Hi, Mark. Thanks for publishing your concerns about the column in such a respectful way. Here is my response.

First, I listened to the recording of our interview, and you didn't call me by another name. No need to apologize there.

Second, I should have checked back about when you stopped working. Yep, "earlier this year" is kind of a vague and misleading term.

In this economy, I would suggest that letting go of any work is a sacrifice. However, I don't think the column implies you were reckless. "Committed" is the idea I was trying to convey.

On the three bills, there just wasn't space to go into that. I was just trying to give the readers a sense that you have some policy experience and, again, that your candidacy is serious.

Finally, I looked at your August statement and saw only about $1,000 but could find only $100 in cash. It looks like your opponent hasn't raised much, either. Some of these state legislative races can get very expensive.

So, to sum it all up, let me defend myself by saying I don't see where I got a lot that was wrong. However, I can see where I oversold the whole "David vs. Goliath" angle. I really meant you to serve as a proxy for all independent candidates, who face very long odds getting elected.

Anyway, thanks again for talking to me.

9:45 AM, September 28, 2012  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

No need to defend yourself, as you did nothing wrong! Let me add here again, your column was fair! Your article was more fair than I am used to! I must take the responsibility for what needs clarification, except for the inherent limitations of space with on-paper reporting.

You did not get ANYTHING wrong Steve, I just wanted to make things even more clear in the electron world, where we have the space to do that!

9:11 AM, September 29, 2012  

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