By now, you are all, I’m sure, familiar with Loy Mauch, the member of a white supremacist-neoconfederate hate group that got elected as a Republican representative down in Hot Springs County. Yeah, you remember, the man who won recognition as one of the 50 worst politicians in America, EVER? If not, let me jog your memory:
The newly elected state lawmaker says the Confederate flag is “a symbol of Jesus Christ above all else.” He’s also in the League of the South, a group that advocates for Southern secession. And until 2010, he was commander of James M. Keller Camp 648 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which held a conference in 2004 with a keynote address titled “Homage to John Wilkes Booth.”
Mauch has been stinking up the legislature since his election in the teabagger wave in 2010 and to date no one in the Arkansas Republican Party has rushed out to condemn his racist/secessionist past, something that speaks volumes about them. That said, we have a legitimate shot of taking this guy out this year with a top notch contender, Democrat David Kizzia.
This is tough, but still winnable, territory for us. Kizzia, the Malvern City Attorney, has gone a long way towards showing that he’s a viable candidate. He was one of two strong candidates in the primary and he still won that match up with over 60% of the vote. What’s more, he’s outraised Mauch, more than doubling the amount Mauch has taken in so far. (Mauch has raised just a little over 10k. Kizzia has raised 27k. For one of these small rural districts, that can be a lot of money, and as of his last filing report a week before the primary, Kizzia still had more cash on hand than Mauch has raised for this entire race. (Even more impressive, he’s raised more than both Loy Mauch and his Democratic opponent, Terry Bracy, raised COMBINED last year-between them they raised less than 23K.) That should tell you right there how formidable of a candidate we have here.
David’s profile and the statement he made upon announcing give us a pretty good idea of what the man’s core values are and why he’s taking on this fight:
Kizzia, who is the Malvern City Attorney, said his campaign woud focus on making state government more responsible and accountable, helping businesses create more jobs and strengthening K-12 and junior college education.
“I’m running to ensure my little boy will have a first-rate education that prepares him for the jobs of the future,” Kizzia said. “We must all do our part to continue growing our local economy, looking for new, innovative ways to draw on our manufacturing know how, so our children can plant their lives in Hot Spring and Garland Counties as we have.”
Raised by a schoolteacher and a pipefitter, Kizzia said in his announcement that he learned the value of hard work and a good education from his parents. After graduating from Oklahoma Baptist University, he earned a Masters in Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Kizzia graduated with a law degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2006.
Kizzia’s announcement said that his parents also instilled in him the importance of serving his community. He has practiced law in Malvern for the past five years, spending his days helping people with problems that often seem overwhelming. Kizzia said he hopes to use those same skills to provide accessible and responsive constituent services to the people of District 26.
Kind of hard to miss the upside of having a theological background when you’re a Democrat running in Arkansas. On top of that, Kizzia enjoys strong support from labor. The AFL-CIO endorsed him and a lot of working folks have been putting shoe leather to the ground to help him out. He also signed the ERA pledge. I would be the first to say that he and I might not agree on every issue, but that’s okay, it’s always been about electing BETTER Democrats, not being an uneffective, whining purist. Kizzia is both a better class of Democrat, and a better choice than Loy Mauch, not that it takes much to be a better option than a white supremacist…
The best defense is always a good offense, and if we’re going to have any hope of keeping the Arkansas House blue next year we’re going to have to try to take down some Republican incumbents. When you get to going through the Republican rogue’s gallery, it’s hard to find someone who quite fits the bill both as someone who needs to go and as a potentially symbolic victory quite like Loy Mauch. What’s more, this is winnable. Kizzia is a top notch candidate who’s shown that he can raise money and campaign’s hard, so he’s doing his part. This is going to be a high profile race, and I would hope that everyone from the DPA to the Black Caucus to Naturally Blue to any potential Democratic hopefuls for governor or any other office will be stepping up to help Kizzia out with the cash. The more cash he has to bury Mauch with the better, as there is no price too high for erasing this stain from our state legislature.
There is, after all, only one thing that could be more embarrassing for Arkansas than electing Loy Mauch. Reelecting him.