A rock music video is creating a clamor in the race for the state Senate District 7 seat in Washington County.
State Sen. Bill Pritchard, R-Elkins, today questioned whether his opponent in the May 22 Republican primary election is presenting an image inconsistent with Christian conservative values by appearing in a rock music video featuring the song “Whiskey ‘Fore Breakfast.”
Pritchard’s only announced Republican opponent, Rep. Jon Woods of Springdale, who plays bass in the Fayetteville band A Good Fight, said Pritchard’s remarks are “silly” and show a lack of knowledge about pop culture.
Woods, who describes himself as an evangelical Catholic, said the song is a cover of an Irish tune that his band sometimes performs at live events. The song does not reflect his own values or behavior, he said.
“I’ve never drank a drop of alcohol in my life,” Woods said. “I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life. I’ve never done drugs. I’ll sing whatever song I want to sing because it’s a hobby.”
In a 3-minute video the band tweeted this month, Woods and the band are performing on stage. Interspersed are images of fans and others at the Rocklahoma 2011 music festival in May in Pryor, Okla. In one brief clip someone is seen giving an obscene gesture.
Also on the video, Woods, 34, jokes that saving the world with his music and shaping policy and government at the same time is “a big burden.”
“Thank God they found bin Laden on their own,” Woods says, “because I can’t do everything, you know? Jeez.”
Pritchard, 68, said he has nothing against rock music but believes candidates for public office have an obligation to set a positive example.
“Running as a Christian conservative in a Republican primary, is that the lifestyle and the message you want to send your constituents?” he asked.
Woods said Pritchard’s remark is a desperate attempt to divert attention away from the issues, including Pritchard’s votes for $559 million in taxes. Pritchard said at a recent debate more than half those taxes were required after a lawsuit to equalize funding in Arkansas schools.
After The Source published an earlier version of this story today, Woods’ campaign consultant, Keith Emis, noted in tweets that such conservatives as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and television commentator Joe Scarborough have played in rock bands. Emis wondered in a tweet whether Pritchard questions Huckabee’s Christian values.
Pritchard noted on Twitter that the band’s video was removed from YouTube after the initial story today by The Source. Pritchard tweeted that maybe those who want to see the video can ask Woods to take them back in a time machine to see it. That reference is a jab at Woods’ recent role in bringing a physics professor to the University of Arkansas to discuss his book on time travel.
The Woods campaign later gave The Source permission to post the video.
Springdale resident Diana Gonzales Worthen is the only announced Democrat in the race. The district encompasses Springdale, Johnson and parts of Fayetteville and eastern Washington County.