Leader Blues

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

TOP STORY >> Manager looks forward to contest

Leader staff writer

Two days into her new job as manager of Cabot Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh’s campaign for Con-gress in Arkansas’ First District against Rep. Marion Berry, Andrea Allen says her candidate has a good chance of winning the race she has always wanted to be a part of – in the district she calls home.

Allen, who hails from Walnut Ridge in the First District, said Tuesday that she sees leaving Asa Hutchinson’s campaign for governor to run Stumbaugh’s campaign as a step up in her career in politics.
“This is the race I’ve always been interested in,” Allen said. “Asa is a good man and he will make a good governor, but the First District has always been special to me. Also, I see this as a good step forward. It’s a matter of being able to move into a leadership position.”

Allen, 32, served as a regional representative for U.S. Sen. Tim Hutch-inson in his Jonesboro office from 1997-1999 before being promoted to state director.  In 2003, she became Stumbaugh’s operations director.
Earlier this year, she resigned her city job to go to work in Asa Hutchin-son’s campaign for governor as policy director. She started talking to the mayor about a month ago about running his campaign.

Allen said she spent her first official day on the job hooking up her computer and setting up a bank account for the campaign, which is headquartered for now in a small office on Second Street in Cabot. But even though she isn’t quite settled in, the campaign is already underway, she said.

She and Stumbaugh spent Monday evening with campaign co-chairs Rodney Harris of Pocahontas in Randolph County and Christi Wharton of Mountain Home in Baxter County, working on a campaign plan.
They will need a finance committee to raise money, a steering committee to work on strategy and county coordinators, she said.
“I think he could win with a half million dollars,” Allen said when asked about the cost of running a campaign.

This weekend, the mayor will be campaigning in Stone County, she said. Currently, they are working on a schedule that will allow him to meet all of his obligations to the city and still give him time to campaign.
“There’s a lot of interest in the First District about Stubby running for Congress,” she said. “He’s a motivator, he’s a good leader, and he has a lot of good ideas.”

Stumbaugh said Tuesday that he has no doubt he will be able to balance running the city with campaigning for Congress and still do justice to both.
“I’m not married, and I have no children, so I devote most of my extra time to the city,” he said. “Now, I’ll be spending some of that time campaigning.”

Stumbaugh likely will campaign some during the week, but mostly during evenings and on weekends, he said.
The First District covers 26 counties and includes the Delta area, the hilly area around Mountain Home and Heber Springs and everything in between. Its residents include the poorest of the state’s poor as well as some of its wealthiest.

A challenge, perhaps, but the mayor says he’s equally comfortable wearing overalls in a ditch or a tuxedo at a cocktail party. And he says he believes all anyone wants is for their representative to put them first.
And that is what Allen said in a prepared statement about her new job that her candidate will do.
“Mayor Stumbaugh is a leader who always puts people before politics. 

“The First District needs a representative who is able and willing to work with the president, and Democrat and Republican members of Congress, on important issues such as healthcare, the Farm Bill, and keeping our children safe from illegal drugs,” she said.