Republican Debra Hobbs Enters Governor’s Race

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State Rep. Debra Hobbs announced at a campaign kickoff rally Monday (June 17) that she is running for governor.

The three-term Rogers Republican, who previously served on the Benton County Quorum Court, told supporters at a hot-dog supper in the Center for Nonprofits in Rogers that she has stood for the “rights of the unborn” and for preserving Second Amendment gun rights, according to a prepared statement.

Calling herself a conservative Republican, she vowed that her political platform would not be crafted by special interests and said she believes in the “tenets of honesty, integrity, and treating people the way you want to be treated.”

One state legislator, Rep. Karen Hopper, R-Mountain Home, was among the several dozen supporters at the rally.

The governor’s race also includes Republicans Asa Hutchinson and Curtis Coleman, and Democrats Mike Ross and Bill Halter.

Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, is term-limited and cannot seek re-election.

The primary election is in May 2014, while the general election is being held the following November.

During a recent interview on “5NEWS Sunday Morning,” Hobbs discussed her potential bid for governor, saying she would point out during the campaign that she voted against the private option plan that was approved in both legislative chambers before being signed by Beebe.

Some Republicans assert that voting for the private-option plan is akin to supporting Obamacare since it was created under a provision of the president’s Affordable Care Act. Conservative voters who oppose the plan say many GOP legislators vowed during their campaigns to fight Obamacare if elected, then went to Little Rock and hypocritically voted for it.

However, those who support it say it saves the state money by using federal dollars to fund private health care for poor Arkansans. Supporters also say those savings allowed the GOP-controlled Legislature to push through tax cuts during the 2013 session.

Coleman issued a news release Monday, saying it is a “testament to the health of Arkansas’ new political environment” that “a historic three-way race for the Republican nomination” is shaping up.

Hobbs’ 36th wedding anniversary to her husband, Ray, president and CEO of Daisy Outdoor, fell on Monday.

That date also marks one month since the end of the 2013 legislative session. Legislators are prohibited from raising campaign funds 30 days before or after the session. A straw basket was available at the rally Monday for supporters wanting to contribute. It contained several envelopes.