I have known about this for weeks, but I didn’t want to report it until it was somewhat official. Now that is has appeared in Searcy’s fine paper of record, we can discuss it. Searcy police chief Kyle Osborne will be challenging incumbent state representative Mark Biviano for House District 46.
The chief stopped by my house a few weeks ago to discuss a string of burglaries in the neighborhood that I had raised concerns about and I had a chance to ask him if he was indeed planning to run for state representative. He declined to answer my question, saying he was not allowed to discuss politics while on duty, but would get back with me after the first of the year in order to answer my questions (this was just before Christmas). In other words, “I’m running.”
This development will likely count out former Searcy mayor Belinda Laforce who had given every indication that she would run, but after reading my analysis back in the fall, I suspect that the Democrat powers-that-be determined that she could not win–(sorry about that, Rep. Biviano…I shouldn’t have scared her off). So Osborne will run instead, after being heavily recruited by Governor Beebe.
The paper reported last week that Osborne will be retiring from SPD in December of this year.
Haven’t heard back from the chief yet about when we can get together, but I do plan on doing a full interview/candidate profile when he gets back to me. So stay tuned for that.
I suspect Osborne will run an old-fashioned Democrat campaign, meaning the governor will do most of his fundraising and stumping, they’ll put up a lot of signs, and expect a smooth ride to victory. However, Biviano is going to be a formidable candidate.
Despite the fact that he only narrowly beat incumbent Monty Betts (D) last year, Biviano has made a name for himself in Little Rock, championing the defeat of Obamacare implementation in the state–a large thorn in the governor’s side, no doubt. And let’s be honest, Osborne is no Betts. He’s not nearly as well known (or liked) and now Biviano is the incumbent.
Expect Biviano to run a very aggressive grassroots campaign, and Osborne will probably not be able to compete with that, particularly in a year that Obama is on the ballot and the state GOP remains intent on tying every state Democrat to Obamacare.
It’s also worth noting that a lot of work has been done in the last 2 years to dismantle the political establishment in White County. The people have clearly taken back their voice. They will decide this race, not the governor or any establishment.