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Ah, one pines for yesteryear, when candidates all held their respective announcements of the upcoming political season until after Labor Day, but not anymore.

Most, if not all, of the incumbents in the Arkansas State House of Representatives and the Arkansas State Senate, have already announced their intentions to seek re-election, or not.

From these many gleanings, there are plenty of short news items -- i.e. scattershootings to digest in these last Dog Days of Summer.

• • •

You can't seem to move, at least in Washington County, these days.

Without signing a clipboard petition for one of the several men and women running for what is the new District judgeship. The judgeship will be largely a juvenile court position to assist the current District Court Juvenile Judge Stacy Zimmerman. Judge Zimmerman may also have an opponent for her seat this term.

Beware of the petitioners, they are everywhere, in hopes of getting enough signatures to lay aside the large filing fee for that $100,000-plus job.

• • •

State Rep. Clinton Penzo, R-Springdale, a former Tontitown City Councilman, ran last time with no opposition -- either from the GOP or the Democrats.

Now he has an announced opponent for his third term in the state House. Hawley Woods, a mom, breast cancer survivor and small-business owner, is seeking the District 88 House seat as a Democrat.

Expect, I would imagine, quite a spirited race for District 88 next fall.

• • •

When news of state Rep. Dan Douglas, House District 91, in Benton County, announced his retirement from politics -- at least for the present time. One had to wonder why?

Rep. Douglas was a real fighter in the House -- often leading causes that found him on opposite sides with his party -- but usually on the side of the right way to do things. His leaving, even after a close GOP race, last election cycle, will leave the Benton County delegation without one real worker and leader, but Democrats will find it hard to win that seat.

• • •

Democratic challenger Lou Sharp Reed of Springdale, is back in the race she foundered in last election cycle against the GOP's state Rep. Charlene Fite, House District 80.

The other day, Reed, who has for months seldom been off Facebook saying she was running, wished aloud that she's "fighting to win, so Winslow can become a part of District 80."

Seems, Reed wishes all her "friends" could make up their own House District. But politics and the redrawing of district lines, every 10 years, doesn't work that way.

Besides it would be quite a distance and population stretch to have Winslow in a District that stretches all the way to Springdale, now wouldn't it?

• • •

Most all of the incumbents in NWA have rolled out announcements of re-election.

Most unique of them all was a Popsicle party for State Rep. Megan Godfrey, D-Springdale. A Popsicle in the park event that from all the photos and likes posted was a big event for the first-term Democrat from Springdale.

Rep. Godfrey was a real worker in her first term, passing bills and fronting causes that seem to have her solidly in with voters in her district.

• • •

Many of the incumbents have been flying all over for Regional and National Legislative meetings -- state Rep. David Whitaker was in Lexington, Ky., for the Council of State Governments -- and State Rep. Charlene Fite, was in Austin, Texas, for a national conference at the Texas State Capitol.

• • •

Most of the state's representatives have been to the Washington County and Benton County Fairs, both on their own and also working the tents and stations for local political parties.

Some awards have also been doled out over the summer, such as recognition from the Arkansas Municipal League -- Rep. David Whitaker; the 2019 Friends of Grocery and Retail in Arkansas -- Rep. Charlene Fite; and the 2019 Calvin Coolidge Award -- state Rep. Robin Lundstrum., House Dist. 87 of Springdale.

More awards are coming as the Labor Day holiday passes and campaigns begin to get organized.

-- Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at [email protected] The opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 09/04/2019

Print Headline: Scattershooting: '20 Politics Jump Labor Day Start

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