GOP Questions Lieutenant Governor Ads of Paragould Democrat

MAY 19, 2006 - Posted at 8:08 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas GOP wants to know if a candidate for office should be credited with a campaign contribution if he mentions a candidate for another office in one of his ads.  The Republican Party has asked the state's Ethics Commission for an advisory opinion on that question, stemming from radio and television ads run by state Senator Tim Wooldridge of Paragould.

Wooldridge is running for lieutenant governor, but mentions Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Mike Beebe in his ads.  Wooldridge if one of four Democrats running for that party's lieutenant governor nomination in next Tuesday's primary.

GOP Executive Director Clint Reed asked for the opinion in a letter to the ethics panel.  According to Reed's letter, the ad says Wooldridge is "the most qualified to partner with Mike Beebe to lead Arkansas."

Reed said he didn't send the letter to criticize Wooldridge's campaign, but wanted clarification on the state's ethics rules.  Reed questioned whether the ads should be classified as "in-kind" contributions to Beebe's campaign.

Wooldridge dismissed the letter as "partisan politicking" by the GOP.  He said he didn't see how anyone could construe his ad as a contribution to Beebe's campaign.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)