200 people at­tend Lit­tle Flock Pic­nic

An­nual event a fundraiser for the Demo­cratic Party of Ben­ton County

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - DOUG THOMPSON

LIT­TLE FLOCK — There will be a back­lash to Repub­li­can rule both na­tion­ally and in the state, but the Democrats will not ben­e­fit from it un­less they know their fel­low cit­i­zens’ con­cerns and are ready to act on them when and if they get the chance, an an­a­lyst told the an­nual Lit­tle Flock Pic­nic.

The pic­nic is a fundraiser for the Demo­cratic Party of Ben­ton County, an event with a his­tory of at least 50 years. At least 200 people at­tended this year’s event, held from 4 to 7 p.m. Satur­day at the Lit­tle Flock City Park.

“We need to get back into our com­mu­ni­ties and get out from in front of our computer screens,” said Jes­sica DeLoach, a po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst based in Lit­tle Rock. She is also com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor for the Demo­cratic Party of Arkansas but said in her re­marks she was speak­ing as an an­a­lyst and not for the state party.

As re­cently as the 2010 elec­tions, Demo­cratic can­di­dates held most statewide of­fices in state gov­ern­ment.

“We need to get back into our com­mu­ni­ties and get out from in front of our computer screens.”

— Jes­sica DeLoach, po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst

Now they hold none.

“There’s a big rea­son I came out from un­der my rock,” said Karen Showal­ter of Gen­try, a first-time par­tic­i­pant at the pic­nic. “We can protest all we want but we need to get people elected.”

Both Demo­cratic can­di­dates for sec­re­tary of state at­tended Satur­day’s event: An­thony Bland and Su­san In­man.

In in­ter­views Satur­day, both In­man and Bland stressed the im­por­tance of the sec­re­tary of state’s of­fice dur­ing a time of one-party sway over state gov­ern­ment. The sec­re­tary of state over­sees elec­tions and would be in a po­si­tion to pro­tect the voting rights of all Arkansans.

“The best way to pre­vent voter fraud is to put qual­i­fied people in of­fice,” said In­man, who has pre­vi­ously worked in the Elec­tions Di­vi­sion of the sec­re­tary of state’s of­fice and also has served as elec­tion di­rec­tor for Pu­laski County, the most pop­u­lous county in the state.

Bland said that with a doc­tor­ate in busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion who has worked for a se­cu­rity com­pany, he is the most qual­i­fied to en­sure elec­tion in­tegrity for all vot­ers, and to over­see the State Capi­tol Po­lice, an­other duty of the sec­re­tary of state. He is a busi­ness con­sul­tant and a media tech­ni­cian for the Lit­tle Rock School District.

Cur­rent sec­re­tary of state Mark Martin, a Repub­li­can, is not run­ning for re-elec­tion, hav­ing reached the two-term limit in the state con­sti­tu­tion for the of­fice. His suc­ces­sor will be one of the three mem­bers of the State Board of Ap­por­tion­ment, along with the gov­er­nor and the at­tor­ney gen­eral. Those three will be re­spon­si­ble for lay­ing out the new bor­ders of state leg­isla­tive dis­tricts after the 2020 cen­sus.

Both Bland and In­man said they would keep a close eye on at­tempts to ger­ry­man­der dis­tricts to en­sure one-party con­trol of the state Leg­is­la­ture if elected. The win­ner of the Demo­cratic pri­mary will face the win­ner of the Repub­li­can pri­mary, which also has two an­nounced can­di­dates so far. Those are Rep. Trevor Drown, R-Dover, and state and state land com­mis­sioner John Thurston of Lit­tle Rock.

“There’s a big rea­son I came out from un­der my rock. We can protest all we want but we need to get people elected.” — Karen Showal­ter of Gen­try, a first-time par­tic­i­pant at the pic­nic

NWA Democrat-Gazette/CHAR­LIE KAIJO

At­ten­dees stand for the pledge of al­le­giance Satur­day dur­ing a fundrais­ing pic­nic at the city park in Lit­tle Flock. The pic­nic is a fundraiser for the Demo­cratic Party of Ben­ton County, an event with a his­tory of at least 50 years.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/CHAR­LIE KAIJO

Jes­sica DeLoach, a po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst based in Lit­tle Rock, gives a speech Satur­day dur­ing a fundrais­ing pic­nic at the city park in Lit­tle Flock. She is also com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor for the Demo­cratic Party of Arkansas but said in her re­marks she was speak­ing as an an­a­lyst and not for the state party.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/CHAR­LIE KAIJO

Su­san In­man (right), a can­di­date for Sec­re­tary of State, with Nancy Eddy of Lit­tle Rock, gives a busi­ness card to Liz Lottmann, sec­re­tary of the Demo­cratic party in Bella Vista, Satur­day dur­ing a fundrais­ing pic­nic at the city park in Lit­tle Flock.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/CHAR­LIE KAIJO

An­thony Bland, a can­di­date for Sec­re­tary of State, meets with con­stituents Gary and Nancy Ka­hanak of Fayet­teville Satur­day dur­ing a fundrais­ing pic­nic at the city park.

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