There are two purposes for Comments in the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Comments can either add information to aid in the understanding of the entry or add information that provides an alternate interpretation of the historical record.


Information included in this section is not fact checked by the Encyclopedia staff. The author of the Comment is entirely responsible for its content.


I wish to add some information about the development of the Republican Party of Arkansas under the leadership of Asa Hutchinson during the years of 1990 to 1995. He was co-chairman with Sheffield Nelson from 1990 to August 1992 and then sole chairman from 1992 until resigning in March of 1996 to run for a state legislative seat from Fort Smith.

During his leadership in the Republican Party, he filed three federal lawsuits against the State of Arkansas.

One dealt with redistricting of legislative districts.

The second was about the Ethics Commission. Hutchinson had championed for the state legislature to establish such a commission but felt that the act was flawed because none of the five people first appointed was a member of the Republican Party (although the law did require representation from Arkansas’s “minority party”).

The third dealt with the private funding of party primaries by the respective political parties rather than the state paying for them.

Arkansas was the last state in the Union to refuse to pay for party primaries. In March of 1995, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that money was given “under the table” to various county Democrats to pay for Democratic primaries while not paying for Republican primaries in same county.

The courts ruled in favor of Hutchinson and the Republican Party in the latter two lawsuits. The final one has made a huge difference in the success of the Republican Party and in the voters having access to the ballot!


Susan Hutchinson
Little Rock, AR