Arkansas: Close races for Senate, Governor. The latest polls show close races in the top two statewide races in Arkansas this year. In the contest for governor, former US Rep. Mike Ross (D) led former US Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R) by 44% to 43%, a statistical dead heat, in a survey taken by Talk Business-Hendrix College Poll. The same group found US Sen. Mark Pryor (D) leading his challenger, US Rep. Tom Cotton (R), by 46% to 43%, another close outcome. A second US Senate poll, taken by Opinion Research Associates for a group supporting a rise in the minimum wage, showed Pryor ahead by 10 points.
Texas: Grand jury to hear Perry case. First, Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg (D) got stopped for drunk driving. At jail, she was videotaped “kicking the door of her cell and sticking her tongue out at deputies videotaping her,” reports the Dallas Morning News. She served half of a 45-day sentence, entered a treatment program, and a grand jury decided she should not be removed from office. Then Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) urged her to resign and when she didn’t, vetoed a $7.5 million appropriation for the Public Integrity Unit which Lehmberg’s office oversees. After that, the liberal Texans for Public Justice filed a complaint against Perry for abuse of power. Now another grand jury will decide whether to indict Perry. Stay tuned!
Virginia: Sabato teaches last class of “Introduction to American Politics.” Professor Larry Sabato, a noted expert on national as well as Virginia politics, will remain as head of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, but he will no longer teach the popular political science class that the university is abolishing. “I’ve been doing the beginning class for 35 years,” Sabato told Charlottesville’s Daily Progress, with some 20,000 students taking the course over that time. He added, “You get to a point in your life where you realize life is really one long goodbye. This is one of them.” The last of many public officials to address the class was US Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), a former governor of Virginia, who opined, “Governors are notoriously unhappy in the Senate” – where they have relatively little power – “after being at the top of the pyramid,” reported UVA's Cavalier Daily.