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Now with just four days of early in-person voting remaining and only six actual calendar days from today (Oct. 28) until the general election -- ugliness has raised its head.

But we expected this from our national, senatorial and congressional candidates -- even here in Arkansas.

There have also been some very positive looking advertisements and campaigns going on, but let us get to the "dark and ugly" side first.

Alas, the ugliness, sadly, has dropped down into the lower elective offices -- such as one particular state representative race.

In all the years I have covered the political scene in Arkansas for newspapers -- and that logs more than 40 years -- the "nastiness" has hit an all-time negative low point.

In the race for state representative for District 85 -- which covers Farmington and most of Fayetteville -- newcomer to the district -- Brian Hester -- who has lived within the District, only 18 months -- got the state Republican Party to send out a half-dozen mailers or flyers on his behalf as he challenges incumbent State Rep. David Whitaker of Fayetteville, a 20-year-plus resident.

Hester, on nearly every recent flier has mentioned Whitaker by name and touted what Hester says is Whitaker's voting record on certain bills. Hester couches his wording on the flyers to a far-right conservative's political advantage.

Whitaker has sent out two fliers, neither time, mentioning his opponents' name.

While Rep. Whitaker has on occasion voted against the GOP House majority on a number of issues along party-line votes, Hester has used miss-direction and innuendo against Rep. Whitaker on mailed flyers -- all produced and mailed out of Little Rock by the State Republican Party.

But this week, such tactics, hit an all-time low.

A flyer from the State Republican Party on one side boldly said: "Vote Against Rep. David Whitaker."

On the flip side is one of the same stock photos of Hester and his family walking the family's dog -- asking voters to "Vote for Hester."

As the state representative of District 85 since 2013, it should be quickly remembered that Whitaker used his legislative power and the now-defunct Grants Improvement Fund monies for the Farmington Public Library. He directed $50,000 for the new, modern library in Farmington or the city might not have completed the purchase and adaptation as quickly as city leaders wanted.

So who is trying to get Whitaker out of office -- his opponent or the Republican Party of Arkansas?

We must add another Hester name to the nasty mix -- Sen. Bart Hester, Brian Hester's brother, a state senator from Benton County who gave several thousand dollars to Ecclesia College in Washington County.

Sen. Hester, in his own re-election race, was simply a stooge and understudy of a convicted felon, former state Sen. Jon Woods of Springdale, and others in this tax-give-away to a private college.

Sen. Hester escaped prison and indictment but he did contribute to the tax give-away to that college.

Now to the good things out there in the political realm.

If ever television viewers saw a preview of a 2022 ad for Governor -- it has to be a very slick, expertly shown and edited re-election ad for State Senator Jim Hendren of Gravette.

Kudos, I mean major political kudos, go to Hendren and the agency he used for his re-election advertisements.

They are fantastic, patriotic and well done.

The ad shows his love for his country, for the Air National Guard of which Sen. Hendren is an officer; and his small business, Hendren Plastics Inc., which is a small business success story.

The ad is simply a candidate-based message asking for your vote to send him back to Little Rock. There is no mud-slinging or mention of his opponent. And the ads are a joy to view.

Not many state Senators have their own TV commercial, but Jim Hendren now does. Look for more of the same should he run for Governor in 2022.

There have been more high points than low points so far. Still a week or more to go before Nov. 3.

Get out and go vote!


Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at [email protected] The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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