Early voting began Monday and Republicans in Arkansas are hoping this is the year they finish putting a once-dominant Democratic Party to rest. Former Governor Mike Huckabee made a stop in Little Rock to rally the base. ---
“All you Baptists move to the front row," said Doyle Webb, the chair of the state’s Republican Party.
Webb opened up the rally of party faithful with time-tested conservative imagery, preaching to the choir.
“As with any event we always first go to our God and then pledge our allegiance. It’s always appropriate,” said Webb.
Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, pointed to this election as the cementing of a sea-change in Arkansas politics from Democrat to Republican that has taken place the past few election cycles.
“It [is thanks] to your hard work that this has happened, the kind of folks who would come out at 10:30 on a Monday morning and come to the River Market Pavilion. It is because many of you never gave up during the lean and the tough years where you were told, ‘no, no, no, and then no.’” said Huckabee.
But the amount of attention paid to one candidate at the rally, Leslie Rutledge, showed some vulnerability in the GOP march to total victory. Rutledge, the attorney general nominee, has drawn an increasing amount of scrutiny after e-mails from her time as a state employee at DHS were discovered containing traditionally sexually risqué material and racial overtones. Rutledge appeared at the rally flanked by three of the six black people in attendance.
Democrats, ready for an electoral fight to the finish, were also gearing-up to turn out the vote. They held a rally for incumbent Senator Mark Pryor just blocks away from Huckabee at MacArthur Park.