Sen. Bruce Holland, R-Greenwood, seemed altogether unfazed by news that his former Republican primary opponent had endorsed Rep. Tracy Pennartz of Fort Smith, Holland’s Democratic opponent in the upcoming general election.
The Pennartz campaign issued a statement Monday (Oct. 15) saying Rick Green, a former Republican State Representative from Van Buren, had endorsed her in the race for Arkansas Senate District 9. Holland defeated Green — who was endorsed by former U.S. Rep. John Paul Hammerschmidt, R-Harrison — in the GOP primary for the Senate seat.
“In my primary race against Holland, I learned that truth and integrity mattered little with him and that throwing a fellow Republican under the bus was nothing that Holland would stop short of to win the race,” Green said in the statement.
Green called into question Holland’s character based on his actions related to a high-speed chase.
“I had some hint of Holland’s character early on when I observed his flagrant disrespect for the law by fleeing law enforcement during a high speed chase that endangered many lives in the River Valley,” Green noted. “I saw Holland go to the floor of the State Senate and ask for forgiveness but just days later switch from the apology to fighting the charges. He carried this defiance out for over a year, at the taxpayer’s expense, only to finally pleading guilty the day before the appeal trial and probable jail time was reached.”
Holland wouldn’t offer a direct comment on Green’s endorsement.
“Well you know Rick is free to endorse whoever he wants in any race he wants to pick,” Holland said.
Holland also chose an indirect answer when asked if he thought the Green endorsement might be the product of sour grapes.
“I haven’t spoken with Rick since before the primary, so I’m not going to say how Rick feels,” Holland said.
In the statement, Green also said Pennartz would better represent people in the Senate district. Senate District 9 covers parts of southern Crawford County, east Fort Smith, and portions of Franklin, Scott and Sebastian Counties.
“I had the pleasure of serving two terms with Rep. Pennartz in the Arkansas House of Representatives and I know of no other Representative that has demonstrated more integrity and tenacity for her District than Rep. Pennartz," Green said in the statement.
Holland also said on Monday his campaign continues to poll well against Pennartz. In late July, the Holland campaign released a poll of 400 likely voters in the district that had Holland at 54.8% approval, with Pennartz’s approval at 31.4%, and 13.8% unsure. The poll was conducted by Conway-based Diamond State Consulting.
“I think we still have a real strong double-digit lead,” Holland said Monday.
The Pennartz campaign responded in late August with completely different poll results. The Pennartz poll, conducted by Austin, Texas-based Stanford Campaigns, “reached” 1,111 likely voters. It showed 21% support for Pennartz, 23% for Holland and 56% undecided.