Ever heard of John Paul Hammerschmidt?
Rick Green is hoping voters in parts of Crawford, Scott and Sebastian counties have, and he’s hoping the endorsement from Hammerschmidt will put him over the top in his primary election race against Sen. Bruce Holland, R-Greenwood.
Green and Holland are in a Republican primary for the newly formed Arkansas Senate District 9. Holland is the incumbent in the district. The primary election is May 22.
“I’ve been endorsed by my Senate colleagues and the Lt. Gov. (Mark Darr),” Holland said when asked if he had a comment on the JPH endorsement of Green. “I’ll run on my voting record and let him run on his.”
It’s likely most voters in the district are familiar with former U.S. Rep. John Paul Hammerschmidt (JPH). The Republican from Harrison served as Arkansas’ 3rd District Congressman for more than 25 years and was one of only two Republicans to defeat Bill Clinton in an election.
Retiring Sen. Ruth Whitaker, R-Cedarville, has endorsed Green’s candidacy and was instrumental in securing an endorsement from JPH, Green explained Thursday (April 5).
"While serving as a State Representative, Rick Green carved a reputation of caring, prompt and courteous attention to his constituents,” began the JPH statement. “Rick always put the needs of his constituents and his district above all others. He has the institutional knowledge and experience to be an outstanding Arkansas State Senator. It is for these reasons that it is my privilege to endorse Rick Green for District 9 State Senator."
Green, representing Van Buren, served three terms in the Arkansas House of Representatives before being term-limited out of office.
Green said he was surprised and honored by the call from Whitaker saying JPH had issued the endorsement.
"I am honored to have received the endorsement of one of the greatest public servants of this era,” Green noted in his statement. “John Paul Hammerschmidt was known for keeping in touch and responding to his constituents while serving as 3rd District Congressman. While serving three terms as State Representative I tried to model my service after his fine example and will continue that practice as State Senator."
Rex Terry, chairman of the Sebastian County Republican Committee, said endorsements are just one factor voters consider.
“It certainly it can’t hurt,” Terry said when asked about the impact of an endorsement from JPH. “The John Paul Hammerschmidt name invokes a lot of respect. But I really don’t know if endorsements by others helps a lot. I really think it comes down to how the candidate is perceived by the voters.”
But Terry added a quick caveat: “But if you’re running for office and you can get his (Hammerschmidt’s) endorsement, you certainly want to do that.”