Today's Paper Latest Elections Coronavirus 🔵 Covid Classroom Cooking Families Core values Story ideas iPad Weather Newsletters Obits Puzzles Archive

We hesitate to opine once again on the Jefferson County Election Commission, because to do so is to state the obvious. Like shaking our finger at a sty of pigs and wondering aloud at their sloppiness.

Alas, we will try to bring something fresh to the discussion.

Last week, the commission, which is more of a gang of two and a third member than something as elevated as the word "commission" might imply, met all of a sudden on Friday for what appeared to be the sole purpose of giving Stu Soffer and Mike Adam the opportunity to censure Ted Davis. Which they did.

We have suggested that all three members should excuse themselves or be excused by political party grownups in order for a fresh, new threesome to give this job a shot, with the reason being that the toxicity of this group is so great as to be unworkable. We still believe such.

But on this night, we found ourselves rooting for Davis. After he had been duly censured, Davis asked what it all meant.

"Am I to be shot?" he asked, which is not a totally off-the-wall question given that Soffer did produce a gun at a meeting once. "Are you going to say something to me or do something to me?" ... "Do I go to jail?"

We wondered as well. Does being censured go on Davis' Permanent Record?

And what exactly was Davis' crime? He pointed out -- with appropriate disgust -- that Soffer had, on an Arkansas Times blog, called Pulaski County Clerk Terri Hollingsworth a "cute b*h." Davis then said he found the comment to be "despicable," which, of course, it was. We would also say Soffer's comments amounted to conduct unbecoming a Republican Party official and unbecoming someone in a position of authority.

Again, Davis erred, according to Soffer and Adam, when he brought up Soffer's blog post at an election commission meeting, because they said it was a "partisan personal attack" and had nothing to do with election commission business.

The high irony here is that Davis was being censured for something highly objectionable that Soffer wrote. Let that sink in.

Davis, of course, had every right to bring up the matter as he sits on the commission with Soffer, and Soffer's words and deeds have a direct bearing on how the commission functions and is perceived.

Soffer and Adam, in other words, cannot wall off Soffer's comments as if to make them disappear or become irrelevant. And if those two think Soffer's words do not have any bearing on his position as a commissioner, we refer them to any number of stories about people in high and not-so-high places whose personal actions and comments have caused them to lose their positions. The first person who comes to mind is the once high and mighty Jerry Falwell Jr., who is now free to take all the icky selfies he wants. But the internet is full of such people and such outcomes.

The point is that what you do in your spare time can and should be held against you, especially if you are in a prominent position, which Soffer is.

Others around the state found Soffer's deeds deplorable as well. Gov. Asa Hutchinson weighed in, as did Doyle Webb, chairman of the state Republican Party, and it takes a lot for one Republican to rebuke another. The Democratic Party of Arkansas has also asked Soffer to resign.

And his and Adam's reaction was to censure Davis. That is some amazing chutzpah.

But it's also just as amazing that this circus is allowed to continue, with Soffer as the lead clown. Is there an off switch?


Sponsor Content

COMMENTS - It looks like you're using Internet Explorer, which isn't compatible with the Democrat-Gazette commenting system. You can join the discussion by using another browser, like Firefox or Google Chrome.
It looks like you're using Microsoft Edge. The Democrat-Gazette commenting system is more compatible with Firefox and Google Chrome.