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Fascinating Senate Candidate: Prison Chaplain, Missionary to China, Libertarian…

Did I say Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. is Black – and Running Against Sen. Tom Cotton?

I discovered this candidate last evening in a Reason article:

Sen. Tom Cotton’s Democratic challenger, Josh Mahony, dropped out of the U.S. Senate race just hours after the filing deadline closed. Between this and Cotton’s comments over the past few weeks, which range from calling slavery a “necessary evil” to calling for military force in American streets, many Arkansas voters worry that the Republican incumbent is running unopposed

I have to quibble a great deal with the “necessary evil” quote. Sen. Cotton did NOT say slavery was a necessary evil; he said the Founders felt this way.

However, I thank Reason for introducing me to Ricky Dale Harrington, Jr., Libertarian candidate and at the moment sole opponent to Senator Tom Cotton. I have reached out to the Harrington campaign last evening for more details. But he is an intriguing candidate (From the Reason article):

A Libertarian prison chaplain who hopes to be Arkansas’ first black senator, Harrington is indeed a unique candidate. The 34-year-old Pine Bluff resident is a husband and a father. He’s also the son of a corrections officer and a nurse, which he says is particularly fitting since his campaign’s main issues are criminal justice reform and health care reform.


“Ricky is an exceptional candidate,” [Arkansas LP state chair] Pakko adds. “He is an ordained minister who has experienced life as a missionary overseas, giving him a worldview that is both expansive and nuanced.

Harrington was a missionary in China; that’s right, and I don’t mean Taiwan! DC ought to be a snap after serving Christ in a creative access area. And he discovered liberty issues after a dose of the same prescription I got: Cong. Ron Paul’s 2008 run for President.

Here from Ricky’s (I like his logo) campaign website has some of his positions on the issues:

Foreign Policy Focused on Diplomacy

The wars in the middle east have cost the American people more than $6 trillion, the lives of thousands of American men and women, and has directly led to the death of hundreds of thousands of non-combatants in the countries we’ve invaded. U.S. foreign policy is to be focused on diplomacy and minimizing foreign military entanglements. It is time to end our preemptive action strategy and deal with foreign states through diplomatic means – every sovereign nation has a right to determine their future. The United States should find mutual interests with these foreign nations, seek peace, and should never engage in agitation or in aggression against any country.

I like it! Now let’s look at criminal justice reform:

Criminal Justice Reform

Every state that accepts block grant federal funds will be mandated to institute sweeping State and Federal criminal justice reforms, including a national standard for the release of public records (Freedom of Information Acts), nonviolent Crisis Intervention Training for all certified law enforcement officers, Civilian Advisory Boards to resolve citizen complaints against police, elimination of mandatory minimum sentences, and Federal legalization of marijuana.

This is a clear “fight fire with fire” situation in that I am not sure this is a Ron Paul solution. But it is intriguing; I hope he can add: Must have adequate institutional statewide indigent defense system (Hint: Virginia does not) to get the Federal funds.

Since there is no other opponent, this ought to be an interesting race. I hope to have more info shortly…

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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