Speculation on this has been out there for a little while now and I am just now getting around to talking about it. With a sickening lack of candidates in the second district, DPA Chairman and former state house rep Will Bond has been talked about as a potential candidate against the ever odious Tim Felon. It’s an appealing idea for many reasons, not the least of which are the positive qualities that Bond himself brings to the race. In the state legislature, Bond was a solid progressive, even though he wasn’t a pitbull or a rockstar for those of us on the left. Instead he was something that is often more important-he was a workhorse, focused on the actual ins and outs of public policy and representing his constituents, something that would be a nice change of pace from the Republican rubber stamp already measuring the drapes for his Senate office. What’s more, he’d bring some political know how when it comes to messaging, which has been his strong point as chairman, and the connections to raise some serious cash. I’ve heard him speak a couple of times, and he comes close to getting that populist tone I like, which is another plus as I see it.
Republicans will quickly attack Bond as a party hack. Kind of hard to have a leg to stand on though when your guy got where he is because of his D.C. ties from work as a long time Republican hatchet man, much less one that got appointed to a job he wasn’t fit for under shady circumstances as repayment for performing criminal activity. If Bond stands firm, doesn’t run from his core principles, and closes Griffin’s mouth every time he opens it the way Ken Aden is doing to Steve Womack, he could win this race and take back Vic Snyder’s old seat. The question though is will he do it?
Something has got to give in the second. There’s no excuse for letting a rat like Griffin get a pass, especially in a district so thick with Democrats. As it stands, Democrats are looking at the chance of a Wes Clark run, which at least one knowledgeable observer thinks is a long shot, and, from what some of my sources tell me, former state representative Jay Martin is considering a run…Martin who? Oh yeah, the guy that finished a distant fourth in his run for Lt. Gov in the ’06 primary. Yeah, it’s going to take a better game than that…
So again, will Bond do it? I don’t know, but Democrats, and the Arkansans Tim Griffin likes to threaten with watch lists, need someone who can win to step up. ASAP. The simple truth is, if no one runs in this district, then all the hard work that Democrats have put in to making the party better, the hard work Bond has been a leader on, will likely be for nothing. We can’t win in Arkansas without winning the rapidly growing second district, it’s as simple as that. And what of the DPA should Bond leave it? Bond has served as a good chairman at a time when the DPA needed reform, and he’s been an excellent transitional figure for the party. It hasn’t been easy, he and the great new team at the DPA have had to butt heads with entrenched interests, spin their wheels a bit, and put up with everything from cowardly would be candidates afraid to run to guys like me giving them a hard time every so often. Still, the DPA is better now than it was when Bond took over the reigns. However, it may be time for him to step up and answer the call to service in a different capacity, one where he may be able to do more good for Arkansans than where he is now, and I’m sure the new DPA crew can step up to continue his work.
If Bond wants to do this, then we’ll have his back for sure. There’s not a Republican in Arkansas I want to dispose of more than Tim Felon, and honestly I think Bond would be a top notch candidate and Congressman, certainly a hundred times better than the man he’d be replacing.