Sabin plans cam­paign for mayor

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - JOHN MORITZ

With Lit­tle Rock state Rep. War­wick Sabin look­ing at en­ter­ing the Capi­tol city’s may­oral race, sev­eral can­di­dates have emerged to vie for the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion to his House seat.

Two hope­fuls, lo­cal at­tor­ney Ross Noland and Cen­tral High School English teacher Tippi McCul­lough, said they plan to en­ter the race.

In ad­di­tion, land­scape ar­chi­tect Mark Robert­son said Mon­day that he’s weigh­ing whether to mount a cam­paign.

The House elec­tion for a two-year term will be held in Novem­ber 2018 at the same time Lit­tle Rock res­i­dents will pick a mayor.

A Democrat, Sabin is serv­ing in his third term at the state Capi­tol, which lies within his district. He an­nounced last week that he is “ex­plor­ing” en­ter­ing the may­oral race.

The in­cum­bent mayor, Democrat Mark Stodola, says he is run­ning for re-elec­tion.

Sabin’s an­nounce­ment came in the week af­ter a shoot­ing be­tween ri­val groups at a down­town night club left 25 peo­ple in­jured.

The city also has grap­pled with an in­crease in vi­o­lent crime this year, in­clud­ing shoot­ings and homi­cides.

Sabin cited pub­lic safety as an is­sue in an­nounc­ing his ex­ploratory bid, as did sev­eral of those eye­ing his leg­isla­tive seat.

“Our district is con­cerned right now about crime and ed­u­ca­tion,” Noland said in a phone in­ter­view Mon­day.

All three po­ten­tial ri­vals said they would seek to have the Lit­tle Rock School District placed back un­der lo­cal con­trol. The state took con­trol of the district and dis­solved the school board in 2015, af­ter test scores put six of the district’s 48 schools in aca­demic dis­tress.

In ad­di­tion to ed­u­ca­tional is­sues, McCul­lough, 53, said she would fo­cus a large part of her cam­paign on health is­sues, from sup­port­ing the state’s pri­vate-op­tion Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion and bike trails to bat­tling the opi­oid ad­dic­tion cri­sis. McCul­lough is the Demo­cratic Party chair for Pu­laski County.

Noland, 36, also heads the non­profit Buf­falo River Foun­da­tion and said he would also make en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues and civil rights cen­tral to his cam­paign.

Robert­son, 63, who un­suc­cess­fully chal­lenged Sabin in the 2012 Demo­cratic pri­mary for the then-open seat, said if he de­cides to run again, he will cam­paign on sup­port for pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion and of­fer­ing leg­is­la­tion to sup­port re­new­able en­ergy.

“I’m look­ing at where the re­sources are and the sup­port, and lay­ing that out,” Robert­son said. “I’ve got a de­ci­sion to make.”

Both McCul­lough and Noland said they have started form­ing cam­paigns and col­lect­ing do­na­tions, though their first cam­paign fi­nance reports have not been pub­lished by the Sec­re­tary of State’s of­fice.

Sabin said Mon­day that he’s fo­cused on ex­plor­ing a can­di­dacy for mayor and did not of­fer a pub­lic en­dorse­ment for any can­di­date.

District 33, which in­cludes down­town, the Hill­crest neigh­bor­hood and parts of mid­town, has a heavy Demo­cratic tilt, and Repub­li­cans have not both­ered to put up a can­di­date in re­cent elec­tions.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.