by Andrew DeMillo
Associated Press Writer
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe called the racially charged writings of three Republican House candidates “embarrassing” on Tuesday but said he didn’t believe they reflected the views of the state or the GOP.
|CONDEMNS GOP WRITINGS—Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe speaks to delegates at the Democratic Party of Arkansas state convention in North Little Rock, Ark. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
The Democratic governor condemned the writings by House candidate Charlie Fuqua, state Rep. Jon Hubbard and Rep. Loy Mauch but didn’t call for them to withdraw from their respective races. All have come under fire from leaders of both parties in recent days.
Hubbard called slavery a “blessing in disguise” in a 2009 book and wrote that African-Americans were better off than they would have been had they not been captured and shipped to the United States. Fuqua advocated the deportation of all Muslims in a 2011 self-published book, and Mauch called Abraham Lincoln a war criminal in one of a series of letters to a newspaper dating back several years.
“It’s pretty embarrassing, it’s pretty sad,” Beebe told reporters at the state Capitol on Tuesday morning. “But, you know, you can’t blame a whole state for activities or comments from a few because there’s been a lot of comments by Republicans and Democrats that we wish had never been made and that embarrass us all or detract from how we’re viewed by other folks.”
Fuqua, Hubbard and Mauch did not return calls or emails Tuesday morning. Beebe said he hoped voters wouldn’t reward the three in the November election.
“I would hope the people in the rest of the country wouldn’t think that Hubbard or those other people represent what Arkansas really is, because they don’t,” Beebe said.
Republicans have distanced themselves from the writings, and the state party said Monday that it would not contribute any more money to their campaigns. GOP Congressman Tim Griffin has asked the three to donate money he contributed to charity.
The comments have received attention as Republicans aim to win control of the state Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction. GOP leaders are confident of the party’s chances and said they don’t believe the writings will hurt their efforts to win control of the state House and Senate.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, a Democrat and the only announced candidate for the 2014 governor’s race, called the remarks “appalling” in a speech to a Jonesboro group and applauded GOP leaders for distancing themselves from the three candidates. McDaniel served in the House in the seat that Hubbard now holds.
“The embarrassed Republican leadership of Arkansas knows, as I do, that Jonesboro absolutely does not think the way Jon Hubbard thinks,” McDaniel said in prepared remarks released by his office.
(Andrew DeMillo can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/ademillo.)