Tuesday’s Republican run-off election between Attorney General candidates Leslie Rutledge and David Sterling ended with Rutledge winning the nomination.
Unofficial election returns showed Rutledge with a 59% to 41% advantage.
Rutledge survived an onslaught of out-of-state spending from two third-party groups. Iowa-based American Future Fund spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the primary to promote Sterling’s candidacy, and in the run-off a D.C.-based group, Judicial Crisis Network, spent hundreds of thousands against Rutledge.
The TV, radio and direct mail advertising attempted to tie to Rutledge to Pres. Obama and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The group also touted Sterling’s candidacy primarily for his support for a “stand your ground” law — a point Rutledge drove home in her victory remarks.
“Although we were outspent 10-to-1, our grassroots hard work prevailed and Arkansans were not fooled by D.C. beltway bandits,” Rutledge tells Talk Business & Politics. “As Attorney General, I will always stand my ground to protect Arkansans.”
Sterling said, “God has other plans for me right now, and I’m eager to see what He has in store,” Sterling said in a statement. He thanked his wife and daughter and all of his volunteers for their work and sacrifices during the last 16 months.
“I encourage them to keep up their energy and enthusiasm, so that we can keep moving our state and country forward,” he added.
State GOP chairman Doyle Webb said, “We congratulate Leslie Rutledge and look forward to electing her as the first Republican to hold the office of Attorney General in Arkansas. I am confident that Leslie will be a strong leader in our Republican Majority and fight to protect and advance our conservative values for all Arkansans.”
Rutledge faces Democrat Nate Steel and Libertarian Aaron Cash in November’s general election. Steel provided the following statement to Talk Business & Politics:
I congratulate Leslie Rutledge on winning her party nomination tonight, and I look forward to a spirited debate in the general election,” Steel said. “I hope that we can focus on the duties of our state’s Attorney General office and avoid the personal attacks and federal issues that made up my opponents’ primary. My campaign will continue to promote a positive vision for the office that includes improving our criminal justice system and protecting our seniors, children and consumers.