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Didn't get your morning cuppa joe yet? That's okay. We have a heart-pounder surely to wake you up this glorious, democratic Tuesday morning:

Runoffs!

There now. Awake yet?

Better'n four-dollar espresso.

We're not the betting types, so we're not going to make predictions today as much as endorsements. But we do feel safe looking into the future concerning one election: If the mayor's race in Little Rock doesn't go to a runoff, there are going to be a lot of surprised people.

The top three candidates are good ones. And could be great mayors, if the one who (eventually) wins will put Little Rock's children first and use the office to push for real changes in the schools. Little Rock will never reach its potential as long as so many schools are failing.

Will crime go down with 22 schools with D or F grades? Will property values go up with 22 schools with D or F grades? Will more business open with 22 schools with D or F grades?

Those running for mayor might tell you that they're not running for school board. That's true. But it's also true that a city's mayor is usually the leader with the highest profile. And if the biggest concern for the city, in this case Little Rock, is a failing school system, then the leader of that city should provide a direction, if not guidance. It's called leadership.

The Big Three candidates for mayor have impressive backgrounds. Here's hoping the one who gains office will show as much effort and creative thinking when dealing with schools as he did prepping his campaign.

The race in the 2nd Congressional District is pretty much what everybody wanted: two exceedingly attractive candidates. Our choice, however, is French Hill for re-election. For the last four years, he made a record deserving another term:

He knows banking and finance, and has real standing when talking to the president, or anybody in the administration, about his concerns on tariffs. He knows that China's a free-trade cheater. He's a border hawk who's been down there enough to tell horror stories about the Mexican cartels who run the show. (They have better surveillance equipment than our side.) He's sponsored legislation to repeal the tax code. He brought back William Proxmire's Golden Fleece Award. And French Hill would remain a solid vote for tax cuts and a strong military if the Republicans keep the House--or a solid vote against over-reaching Democrats should the blue wave actually happen.

In the governor's race, we endorse Asa Hutchinson for re-election. For a number of reasons. But if you want the simplest answer, it might be this: Why change horses now? The state economy is going like gangbusters. Plants are opening all across the state. Anybody who wants a job can get one. The state has problems, of course, but not so much that changing governors makes any sense at all.

Tim Griffin has been busier than most lieutenant governors have been in this state. He's led an education review and helps lead the governor's Transformation Advisory Board. And the military man is also a member of the Military Affairs Commission. Those are just official duties that recommend him for re-election.

Leslie Rutledge has been an effective and accessible attorney general. She's a fierce defender of the state's right to make abortion laws. She's implemented a new Public Integrity Division. And she's out front on the opioid crisis. She is the right person to lead the state's legal forces for the next four years.

Of the ballot issues, two are DOA, with the courts ruling that their votes won't be counted. Issue 1 and Issue 3 are void. So let's talk about the others:

We are for Issue 2, the voter ID matter. It should not be easier to vote in this country than to get into the movies. The courts have ruled on another law about voter identification, but this would stamp it into the state constitution. Consider it a backstop if another court rules against the current law later--and knowing the courts, that could happen anytime.

Issue 4 is the casino approval, and count us against. There must be a reason the big backers of this amendment are the Indian tribes in Oklahoma. Does anybody think they are pouring millions of dollars into this election because they want competition for their casinos? They want to operate the ones in Arkansas, too, and this measure calls for experienced outfits to run our gambling houses. Do you think the operations in Oklahoma have anybody in mind?

Issue 5 is the minimum wage increase, and we'd recommend voting against it. Arkansas already has a higher minimum wage than any neighboring state. Does anybody in Arkansas really want more expensive groceries, car washes, pizzas, hotel rooms and so much more? Another increase in the minimum wage would probably throw a lot of minimum wage workers out of jobs, too. We wonder if young people are giving this all the thought they should.

In several central Arkansas legislative races, we recommend Andrew Collins for House District 35, Jonathan Crossley in House District 41, State Rep. Jim Sorvillo in District 32, Rep. Carlton Wing in District 38, and Rep. Mark Lowery in District 39.

Good luck at the polls, y'all. Come Wednesday morning, the 2020 election season can begin.

Editorial on 11/06/2018

Print Headline: Finish line

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Archived Comments

  • GeneralMac
    November 6, 2018 at 8:34 a.m.

    GREAT endorsements !

    My vote today will be EXACTLY similar to your endorsements except I will vote YES on the casinos.

  • condoleezza
    November 6, 2018 at 12:44 p.m.

    Predictable Trump-pandering endorsements, right down the line. No surprise there from our anonymous (ooops! ..."unsigned"--*wink, wink*) editorialists. The fact that French Hill has been lying, flat-out and demonstrably, about his voting record should concern anyone. Well, except the Democrat-Gazette of course.

  • CartoonDude
    November 6, 2018 at 4:37 p.m.

    "Consider Issue 2 a backstop if another court rules against the current law later--and knowing the courts, that could happen anytime." What difference would it make? The voters in Arkansas added to the constitution that marriage was only the union of one man and one woman. Despite that, Judge Piazza shot it down anyway with no federal precedent ruling. Not only did he pay no price for the egregious violation of his oath, the handful of representatives who attempted to impeach him for the violation were ridiculed by many, including some on the staff of this newspaper. So putting voter ID in the constitution offers no protection from lawless, unethical judges. It's still worth voting for.

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