The secretary of state for a state is so much different than a secretary of state for the country. The person in Washington tours the world as a diplomat and talks a lot to the international press. The person in Little Rock has a desk job and doesn't quite get the publicity.
But in this state, it's important. And John Thurston has done a bang-up job. And that should matter, even if his opponent in the primary was a swell legislator back in the day.
Think about what the state/nation/population has been through over the last two years, and how all that relates to the job of secretary of state:
Let's take the elections first. The secretary of state in Arkansas is responsible for them. The last election was held during a pandemic. And yet the state reportedly had the highest voter turnout in state history. Imagine the management skills it takes to pull that off.
Or, better yet, imagine how the state would have looked if things would have gone sideways. (Actually, you don't have to imagine. There are states that can provide examples. To beware.)
Then you have the Capitol grounds. The secretary of state is responsible for that acreage, and was responsible for it during the disturbances and street marches after the George Floyd killing in Minnesota. If the secretary of state would have been held responsible for a disaster then (and he would have) then he must be given credit when protests recede and the Capitol is still there, in one piece.
John Thurston's office also disbursed $1 million worth of PPE equipment to 75 counties for use during elections. But he doesn't sound like a man who's interested in marking time to retirement.
Here's what he told our reporter for the Arkansas Voter Guide: "The Heritage Foundation and America First Policy Institute recently ranked Arkansas as one of the top states in the nation in terms of election integrity. I plan to work with the Legislature, in the 2023 session, on legislation to increase those rankings.
"The Biden administration has been pushing elections legislation that will forever change our elections. This attempt to federalize our elections and strip away states' rights would make cheating easier than ever."
Let's not go in that direction.
To prevent it, we recommend voting FOR John Thurston in the Republican primary for secretary of state.