Will Madison Cawthorn Become An Issue In The Arkansas Senate Election?
Arkansas is one of the most conservative states in the country. The last two wretched Democrats elected to the U.S. Senate-- when Republicans were still associated in the voters' tiny weenie minds with Abraham Lincoln's decision to free the slaves-- Mark Pryor (2002) and Blanche Lincoln (1998) were both insufferably conservative, on many issues no better than Republicans. Until the elections of their replacements in 2010 (John Boozman) and 2014 (Tom Cotton), there had only been one Republican elected to the Senate from Arkansas since the end of Reconstruction, when an uninterrupted rein of racist Democrats began in 1876.
In 2016, despite some tenuous Arkansas roots, Hillary was beaten by Trump 684,872 (60.6%) to 380,494 (33.6%). And where normal people saw Trump's ugly, chaotic 4 years as reason to vote for Biden, Arkansas voters liked what they saw an gave Trump an even bigger victory-- 760,647 (62.4%) to 423,932 (34.8%). The state House consists of 76 Republicans and 24 Democrats and the state Senate has 27 Republicans, an independent and just 7 lonely Democrats. This is one red cesspool of a state... and with a dysfunction, worthless, barely alive Democratic Party. Arkansas is, in effect, as much a one party state as China and North Korea are.
All the action is inside the GOP-- which pushes thee state's politicians ever rightward. Even if they start out vaguely moderate, they move inexorably towards the fascism of the most aggressive wing of the party. Today Boozman, who no one has ever accused of being "moderate" in any way is attempting to fight off fascist primary challengers funded by out-of-state neo-Nazi money.
Boozman won one of Trump's automated one-size-fits-all nominations-- as well as the NRA's-- but challengers Jake Bequette and Jan Morgan (endorsed by Michael Flynn) are the actual MAGA candidates. (Bequette is another of those nice looking, athletic young fascists who is in the Madison Cawthorn orbit.)
Here's the fundraising record as of March 31:
John Boozman- $5,526,912
Cawthorn's boyfriend- $1,142,086
Jan Morgan- $547,761
An ad hoc Neo-Nazi organization, calling itself the Arkansas Patriots Fund and funded by Illinois fascist billionaire Richard Uihein, had also spent $1,471,182 pushing Bequette by March 31 and has continued spending since then. Meanwhile, a far right cryptocurrency SuperPAC has spent about a quarter million dollars boosting Boozman.
The scantily-polled primary shows Boozman way out ahead... but not enough to avoid a runoff, likely between himself and Bequette. Last week's Hendrix College poll suggested that the undecided voters will decide:
John Boozman- 45%
Cawthorn's boyfriend- 19%
Jan Morgan- 16.5%
Heath Loftis- 1.5%
This morning, The Hill reported that Boozman is working hard to avoid "what could turn into a nasty runoff fight as outside money pours into the state. 'I think it probably would be heated because, No. 1, the entire strategy for the two challengers has been to be negative, right, to tear him down, to try to claw their way into the runoff, so that’s what they’ve been successful doing,' Robert Coon, an Arkansas GOP strategist, said about the dynamic of a potential runoff... To avoid a runoff, Boozman would need more than 50 percent of the primary vote during the May 24 election. Otherwise, the race turns into a one-on-one June 21 runoff between Boozman and whichever of his challengers comes in second."
The Arkansas race has echoes of those higher-profile primary fights, including pitting a more traditionally conservative Republican, Boozman, against more Trumpian challengers, who are trying to come at Boozman as being part of the GOP establishment.
“After John Boozman’s 20 years in Washington, our border is less secure, our military is weaker, and our education system is dominated by far left activists,” Bequette said in a statement to The Hill.
“While our country is in turmoil, John Boozman refuses to debate and campaigns from his basement while spending millions in attack ads. Arkansas is ready for something better; Arkansas deserves someone better,” he added.
But unlike those other fights, Boozman is facing challenges from the Trump wing as a relatively low-profile incumbent and, more importantly, one who got the former president’s endorsement early on.
Boozman’s opponents viewed an opening after the far-right website Gateway Pundit published a recording of Boozman saying that the results of the 2020 election were legitimate, putting him at odds with the former president.
Bequette, in a statement after the video’s release, tried to seize on the gap, calling Boozman “an anti-Trump RINO who only stands with President Trump where he stands to benefit.” Boozman spoke with Trump after the video was released and told The Hill that he believes his relationship with the former president is still in good standing.
“I think myself and the president have a great relationship, and we’re very appreciative of his endorsement,” Boozman said.
Boozman has also gotten the support from other high-profile Republicans in the state, including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump’s former press secretary and the favorite to be the state’s next governor, and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who is viewed as having White House aspirations.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), the chairman of Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, traveled to Arkansas last month to speak at a state GOP fundraiser, where Boozman introduced him. And the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has been working with Boozman’s campaign.
“Our team has worked closely with the Boozman campaign and will continue to do so,” Chris Hartline, an NRSC spokesperson, said in a statement.
Boozman’s campaign has outspent Bequette and Morgan and has more money in the bank for the final stretch. He has nearly $2.51 million cash on hand as of the last fundraising quarter and has spent more than $2.93 million since the start of 2021, according to Federal Election Commission data.
Bequette’s campaign, by comparison, had roughly $555,878 cash on hand at the end of the last fundraising quarter and has spent approximately $584,557 since he jumped into the race, according to FEC data.
Morgan has roughly $54,751 and has spent just over $497,315, according to FEC data.
But outside money has poured into the race and could swell further if Boozman is forced into a runoff election.
According to OpenSecrets, the race had the second highest level of outside spending, so far, for a Senate seat held by a GOP incumbent. The highest, Wisconsin, has a high-profile Democratic primary and, unlike Arkansas, is expected to be a battleground race in November, with Democrats maneuvering to try to unseat Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).
As of Sunday night, outside groups have spent more than $1.47 million in support of Bequette, with $152,950 in outside spending opposing him, compared to more than $1.1 million in support of Boozman, according to OpenSecrets.
Coon, the Republican strategist, said that the outside money is “the really big question” in a potential runoff.
“If Bequette were to make a runoff,” Coon added, “you would have to assume the big outside money that has funded him thus far will continue to do so, smelling some blood in the water and trying to capitalize on it.”
Early voting in Arkansas began this morning. No one knows if Bequette was the one in the video Cawthorn was skull-fucking. He looks a lot more like like Cawthorn's type than nerdy little coke-snorting, orgy-invitationalist Patrick McHenry does. But even Trump is sick of Cawthorn's antics and is freaked out about, in Trump's own words, Cawthorn fucking his cousin, which has now been widely reported on.