In the race to replace retiring Blue Dog Democrat Mike Ross, we endorsed Tom Cotton. He is a ‘once in an election cycle’ candidate due to his intellectual grasp and articulation of conservatism, his life story, and his fighting spirit. I had no negative feelings towards his primary opponent, Beth Ann Rankin, the 2010 Republican nominee. It was just clear that she was not as strong of a candidate and would unlikely fight leadership the way Cotton would. Now I’ve come across a report from a debate between her and Mike Ross in 2010, and am even more confident that we made the right decision.
On August 25, 2010, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette filed this report on the debate between then-Republican nominee Beth Ann Rankin and Congressman Mike Ross:
Copyright 2010 Little Rock Newspapers, Inc.
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock)
August 25, 2010 Wednesday
HEADLINE: Hopefuls battle over bailouts Ross defends government, Rankin wants it `out of way’
HOT SPRINGS – Mike Ross and Beth Anne Rankin sparred Tuesday over the role of the federal government at the Arkansas Economic Developers annual conference, the first candidate forum for the two 4th Congressional District rivals.
Ross, a Democrat who has represented the district since 2001, defended the federal response to the nation’s economic crisis, noting that the country has recently gained 600,000 private-sector jobs. He also defended federal aid to the bank and auto industries, saying they have paid back their loans with interest.
Rankin, the Republican challenger from Magnolia, said the federal government has become too intrusive in recent years.
“I don’t want the federal government to hold my hand, I want it to get out of the way,” she said.
Congressional earmarks – federal spending that is directed to a particular district at the request of its representative – was also a point of contrast between Ross and Rankin.
While earmarks are “messy … secret … dirty,” Rankin said she will take them unless a bipartisan agreement ends the process.
“I will not go to Washington, D.C., on a one-girl hunger strike,” she said.
Ross said changes have made earmarks more transparent, noting that he has to disclose them on his congressional website, certify that they won’t benefit him personally and are barred from being bestowed on the private sector.
This is real simple in plain English. Rankin will not take a leadership role in doing the right thing unless there is a bipartisan agreement on earmarks. Well, you know what? Hell will freeze over before there is a bipartisan agreement on any aspect of limiting government. That is why we cannot risk electing weak candidates like Rankin.
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