Gubernatorial Candidates Rally Region 8 Voters One Last Time

November 6, 2006 - Posted at 5:29 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- With a little more than 12 hours to go until polls open, politicians across the country are making last minute efforts to sway voters.  It's been a heated race in Arkansas for the governor's office and both Republican Asa Hutchinson and Democrat Mike Beebe were in Region 8 Monday on the eve of the election to rally supporters one last time.

"Instead of making a speech about the things I have been talking about, whether it's education or economic development or health care or criminal justice or drugs or any of those other things we've talked about for so long, I just wanted to come say 'thank you,'" said Beebe while visiting Jonesboro's Democratic Headquarters.

"Susan and I have been this morning from Little Rock to Texarkana to Pine Bluff, here in Jonesboro and then we will be headed over to northwest Jonesboro to go meet with the President of the United States!" said Hutchinson over a crowd of cheering supporters at the Jonesboro Airport.

It's last minute rallying to last minute voters.  And for one candidate, the journey to the governor's mansion will end tomorrow.

"I think it's been a very good race, we're please with where we are. I can't think of many things that we would do differently.  We've worked hard in Northeast Arkansas.  I hope I've communicated how important Northeast Arkansas is to our campaign and to the state of Arkansas," said Hutchinson.

"I've been really, really pleased with the amount of bi-partisan support that we've received across the state," said Beebe, "Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike. Obviously the energy has been there, we've had huge crowds everywhere we've gone."

And as for the issues, both candidates have taken a stand and hope voters will be the ones to make a difference.

"I believe that every child in the state, regardless of where they live, are entitled to an excellent education.  I don't think some are entitled to a second class education, so I'm not going to go backwards on education," said Beebe.

"Whenever it comes to supporting good local schools, I have a clear position in support of that.  Eliminating the grocery tax immediately, that's different then my opponent's position of phasing it out over time. And so a lot of differences, there are some plans to fight illegal immigration and I'm pro-life," said Hutchinson.

While the clock ticks down and as the votes come in these candidates realize it's out of their hands now.

"It's a little bit of a stressful time, but you learn to trust the judgment of the voters and we'll see what happens tomorrow," said Hutchinson.

"I thought the last 24 hours would be the most stressful time.  I've had more people since Friday remark about how much calmer I appear and I think it's because I think we know we've done everything we know we can do," said Beebe.

This is the first race in Beebe's 24-year political career that he has faces an opponent on the ballot.  It is the third statewide race for Hutchinson.