As the Labor Day page of the calendar was ripped off earlier this week, it is full steam ahead in politics to the November 8th Midterm Elections.
In Arkansas, as has been the pattern of the last 20 years, the Party Primaries, well over before the summer, have caused a very big vacuum of excitement in the political realm for the upcoming November ballot.
It reminds me of 90 years ago when W. P. (Whooperwill Peas) Wilson, of Little Rock, finished with less than 8,000 votes in a statewide race of seven Democratic candidates vying for the state's major party's endorsement.
Poor, old Whooperwill didn't finish last – he was the next to the last candidate on the lengthy ballot for an August 9 Primary race.
Whooperwill Peas, however, gathered in 7,709 votes, mostly from Cleveland, Bradley and Dallas counties all in Southeast Arkansas, among the poorest of the timber baron counties in the state. He was a likeable fellow, according to most press reports of the day, and always had time to stop and talk to the common man.
But he was not governor material.
Arley Woodrow of Mena, with 3,541 votes statewide, drew the shortest straw in the Democratic field which at one time had as many as 10 candidates seeking the nomination in the sweltering summer.
Sadly, little else, other than his last place finish, is known about Woodrow.
This "down time" between the May and November elections, is indeed a long, long and often boring time for voters.
Very few issues will carry over from May until November in a race. This year might have been an exception on teacher pay and even the reduction of state income taxes, but due to our lame-duck governor and a quick and easy third special session that has all been kicked down the road for the new governor of 2023.
The biggest, uh oh, may be what looks like the elevation of one of the most troubling Republican candidates ever – Mark Lowery of Maumelle – on the fast track for the State Treasurer's office.
Lowery has a very speckled past of failing to file campaign paperwork, personal bankruptcies and less than forthcoming excuses on why he has failed to perform the most basic duties in holding public office.
Before the list of things Lowery has NOT done – remember this, Mr. and Mrs. Voter – he took an oath to uphold the laws and the constitution of Arkansas prior to any of these bad acts described below. So, it is not like he didn't know better... he did.
In 2013: The Arkansas Ethics Commission fined Lowery for missing deadlines to file the proper financial disclosures about donations to his 2012 state House campaign.
In 2016: He again missed deadlines to file proper financial paperwork. But this time Lowery pushed back, saying complaints were really just political attacks. He paid the $150 fine.
Again in 2017: After failing to pay state income taxes for two years in a row, Lowery declares bankruptcy for the second time. The first time was in 1998. But these bankruptcies don't mean he won't make a great keeper of the state's accounts.
Then in 2020: Lowery failed to file any campaign finance reports for nearly the entirety of his re-election campaign, getting him in trouble with the state Ethics Commission again. Lowery blamed poor eyesight for his failure to share financial disclosure documents from October of 2019 to July of 2020. The commission fined him $200.
Now this past election cycle in 2022, it appears as if Lowery skipped out on finance reports for his abandoned run for secretary of state and then skipped out on more required reports when he shifted over to the race for state treasurer. This time his fine is $800.
It is about time the Arkansas voters of both parties examine this record and find it wanting for good, basic, political behavior and ethics, don't you think?
He is certainly no Whooperwill Peas Wilson!