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Huckabee and Dumond's Ghost

Posted on 1/8/2008 2:13:00 PM

Former Arkansas governor, Republican Mike Huckabee's campaign may be haunted by the ghost of rapist Wayne Dumond. While Dumond died in prison in 2005, Huckabee's rivals are reviving the controversy surrounding the 'special' efforts put in by Huckabee to grant parole to Dumond. Freeing Dumond was a mistake, as the rapist went on to rape and kill two other women in Northwest Arkansas and in West Missouri.

Huckabee himself has however, denied responsibility for freeing Dumond. He has consistently underplayed his role in the affair, saying that the process of granting Dumond parole was started by his Democratic predecessors, namely Jim Tucker and Bill Clinton, and that he merely supported Dumond's eligibility for being paroled.

However, media reports, including a 2002 article by Murray Waas in the Arkansas Times suggest otherwise. According to them, Huckabee, along with his key aide, went out of their way to lobby Dumond's case. Huckabee, it was alleged, was guilty of acting in a manner that deviated from accepted parole practice, including having an unrecorded closed-door meeting with the Post Prison Transfer Board, informally known as the parole board, to make Dumond's release possible.

Some former parole board members have corroborated the facts stated in these stories. One of them, Deborah Springer Suttlar, observed that Huckabee's appearance before the board was responsible for causing the voting amongst board members, which was earlier against Dumond's, to turn in favor of it. Questioning why this should have happened, Suttlar has been quoted as saying, "The board members knew the governor’s position. And Huckabee knows what influence a governor has over a board. Who’s going to turn down a governor?” Seems like Huckabee will have a lot of explaining to do if he is to retain his position in the race for presidentship.


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