Arkansas Republicans have run into a stumbling block in their quest to win control of the state legislature for the first time since Reconstruction: the racially charged writings of three of their House candidates.
On Monday night (October 8), Doyle Webb, chairman of the Arkansas GOP told the Associated Press the party would no longer fund the candidates' campaigns, distancing itself from the three candidates' inflammatory opinions about several groups of people, including African Americans, Muslims, Hispanics, gays and women.
Two of the embattled Republicans are incumbents. That includes John Hubbard, in office since 2011, who wrote in a self-published book that slavery “may have actually been a blessing in disguise” for African Americans, according to excerpts cited by the Arkansas Times
“The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth,” he wrote.
The book, called “Letters to the Editor: Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative,” characterized African Americans as ignorant and argued that school integration has eroded the quality of education for white students, the Arkansas Times reported.
Shortly after the writings were publicized Doyle called most of the opinions “highly offensive.” He was echoed by U.S. Representative Rick Crawford, an Arkansas Republican, who called the writings “divisive and racially inflammatory.”
Democrats are clinging to a slim majority in the legislature — just five votes in the Senate and seven in the House — and as Stateline has reported, the GOP has been making gains among the state's right-leaning electorate, which has been increasingly hostile to President Obama's healthcare law. But the writings controversy threatens to shrink the party's margin of error in races for the 100-seat House.
Arkansas is the lone state in the former Confederacy in which both the governor's office and legislative chambers are controlled by Democrats.
Another incumbent, Roy Mauch, who came into office following a 2010 election win, was found to have written a series of letters to the editor of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette over several years defending slavery and the Confederacy while attacking Abraham Lincoln, calling him a “neurotic Northern war criminal” and equating him with Hermann Goering, Joseph Stalin and Karl Marx.
Meanwhile, another House candidate, Charlie Fuqua, called for all Muslims to be expelled from the United States, as reported by the Arkansas Times. In his book, called “God's law,” he also advocated for an institution that could grant the death penalty to “rebellious children,” as spelled out in the Bible.
Over the weekend, Fuqua called his beliefs “fairly well-accepted by most people,” according to the AP.