Arkansas Politics Blog

Rex Nelson
Jacob Slaton / Clinton School of Public Service

The University of Arkansas’s long-time Athletic Director Jeff Long has been sent packing and the program is being forced to re-organize late in the football season. KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman talks about what’s next for UA athletics with Arkansas cultural connoisseur and long-time football announcer Rex Nelson.

He expects a new athletic director to be hired before the Razorbacks football season is over and for head coach Bret Bielema’s job to be on the chopping block not long after.

East Arkansas Democrats will have a primary election on their hands for the First District Congressional seat. Chintan Desai announced today he’s seeking the party’s nomination and to unseat Republican incumbent Rick Crawford in 2018.

In a campaign launch statement, Desai immediately points out that his roots are outside of Arkansas, “I wasn’t born or raised here, but I’ve been proud to call Arkansas home for the past seven years.” The California native is the son of Indian immigrants. Arkansas has never elected a person who isn’t white to Congress.

Jacob Scott Goodwin
Lonoke County Sheriff's Office

An Arkansas man charged in the beating of a black man at the white nationalist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville has been extradited from Lonoke County jail to Virginia. 22-year old Jacob Scott Goodwin of Ward is charged with maliciously wounding DeAndre Harris along with two other men in a parking garage. Harris himself was also charged with assault.

Lonoke County Sheriff John Staley says they’ve been holding Goodwin since October 10th.

File photo. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R).
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is now in charge of the Republican Attorneys General Association's campaign efforts. Rutledge says Democratic gains in Virginia and elsewhere earlier this month don't spell trouble for the 30 Republican attorneys general candidates RAGA plans to back in 2018.

Leslie Rutledge attorney general
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas’s Attorney General is the new chair of the Republican Attorneys General Association. The organization primarily focuses on raising election funds for Republican incumbents.

In addition to trying to fulfill the obligations of serving as this state’s attorney general, Leslie Rutledge has agreed to take on the task of leading a major national campaign fundraising organization. The Republican Attorneys General Association has raised $14 million so far this year to help elect Republicans as attorney general.

Arkansas Death Chamber Lethal Injection
Arkansas Department of Correction

The state of Arkansas has identified a New York pharmaceutical company – that doesn’t want its product used in executions – as the manufacturer of a recently acquired lethal injection drug. Arkansas was to carry out an execution Thursday night before the state Supreme Court granted an emergency stay based on questions about the mental health of death row inmate Jack Greene.

Jack Greene
Arkansas Department of Correction

The execution of Arkansas death row inmate Jack Greene has been halted by the state Supreme Court. Justices granted an emergency stay on Tuesday for the execution slated for Thursday night. Greene’s attorneys argue he suffers from extreme mental illness and wouldn’t rationally understand his execution.

His legal team asked the state’s highest court to review a lower court ruling that the state’s prison director – not a medical professional – has the authority to determine whether a person is mentally competent to stand for execution.

Bruce Westerman
c-span.org

Arkansas Congressman Bruce Westerman’s bill to change how federal forests are managed passed in the U.S. House on Wednesday and is headed to the Senate. Last year a similar version of Westerman’s Resilient Federal Forests Act passed the House but stalled in the Senate. The Republican lawmaker tells KUAR this time around he expects better results in the upper chamber.

Listen to the full interview in the link posted above.

UPDATE: 10/31, 11:42 a.m. The lack of publicly expressed interest in the Mueller indictments from Arkansas's Congressional delegation is drawing condemnation from the chair of the Democratic Party of Arkansas.

Chair Michael John Gray told KUAR he hopes for more communication between the state's elected officials and Arkansans.

Assistant Pro Tempore 1st District Senator Eddie Joe Williams (R-Cabot).
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

President Donald Trump has appointed an Arkansas state Senator as the federal representative on the Southern States Energy Board. Eddie Joe Williams says he’ll be sworn into the new post in 30 to 45 days, and in the meantime he’ll resign as state Senator.

He’s held an elected office of kind or another in the Cabot area since the early 2000’s. He was elected to the Senate in 2010. A special election will have to be called to fill out the remainder of his term.

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