Unless the few polls that we've seen are way off--and if they are off this much, we'll never trust them again statewide--then the two primaries for governor are walkaways, if not runaways.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders doesn't face serious opposition in her primary. She faces a former shock jock who is fighting off "undecided" for second place. The less said, the better.
Sarah Sanders shooed off all the serious contenders in the Republican primary months ago. The closer we get to November's general election, the more we look forward to hearing about her plans. But it is unfair to say that she hasn't any specifics. Because she's already said she hopes to "responsibly phase out" the income tax in Arkansas and close the achievement gap in schools.
Those who watch these things say she's got a big lead in the general election already, this being one of the reddest of red states. So we don't expect her primary night watch party to be anything but a happy occasion. (Say hi to Dad and Mom for us.)
And on the Democratic side of the primary election, Chris Jones seems to be heading for a win without a runoff, too. In a race with five people, that's not something to sneeze at. According to Talk Business, Mr. Jones polls at nearly 60 percent of the vote.
It's easy to see why. Chris Jones is one of the most impressive candidates we've seen in years.
Politics ain't rocket science, but sometimes rocket scientists get involved in politics. For example, see Chris Jones: physics and math degree from Morehouse on a NASA scholarship, master's degree in nuclear engineering from MIT, and a Ph.D. from MIT . . . . Don't take him on in a Jeopardy! binge-watch during Science Week.
He told us his interest in politics started when he was 8 years old. His father took him somewhere, and he noticed a man at the center of attention called "a governor." The governor's name was Bill Clinton. He turned to his father:
"I said, 'What's a governor?'
"He said, 'Let's go home and look it up.'"
Typical response from a parent back in those days. His father made young Chris go to the encyclopedia in the house and look it up. He's been interested in politics ever since.
He hasn't held political office before but is no stranger to public speaking. He was the executive director of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub and was active in his college(s).
Chris Jones comes off as a different kind of Democrat--sometimes. He doesn't necessarily oppose charter schools, but he does want more funding for regular public ones. He says he wants strong borders, too.
On other issues, he falls in line with the party, but still makes a lot of sense: On cutting income taxes, "I'm a mathematician, and the math doesn't add up . . . . We have unpaid bills. We have bridges that are collapsing," not to mention education needs.
He's easy to listen to. Which might explain why he's doing so well on the campaign trail: "One thing that cuts across all of it, is people want to be heard. And they feel like they haven't been." (In some of the places he's visited, he says, the last Democratic candidate they saw in person was Bill Clinton.)
We were talking to a friend the other day about this race, and especially what happens after these two primaries are over. He said it will be an interesting debate between Sarah Sanders and Chris Jones in October, or whenever it's scheduled.
Both of these contenders are rising stars in their parties. But only one of them is world famous. And her personality, fund-raising and former boss might be too much for anybody to overcome. See the candidates who left the gubernatorial campaign once she got in it.
But don't sleep on Chris Jones. If this past week has proven anything, it's that 80-to-1 longshots sometimes pay off.
For the record: We recommend FOR Sarah Sanders in the Republican primary for governor and FOR Chris Jones in the Democratic primary for governor. We want to see this fall campaign.