Talk Business on KASU: Rep. Monte Hodges says he’s staying in Congressional race
Rep. Monte Hodges, D-Blytheville, says he will stay in the race for U.S. Congress despite a nearly 20-year old allegation that never resulted in any charges being brought against him and a call from the chairman of the Democratic Party of Arkansas for him to not run.
Hodges, who appeared on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, said allegations that he molested a then four-year child nearly two decades ago were unsubstantiated and he wants to clear his name publicly.
“They’re false accusations,” Hodges said. “It’s two decades ago.”
A 2003 police report detailing the incident said there was not enough evidence to bring charges. A physical examination of the child did not produce any conclusive evidence of the alleged molestation and Hodges was never arrested or charged with a crime. Hodges did fail a polygraph when examined, but that would not have been allowed as evidence in court if charges had been filed, he said.
“I did fail the polygraph one, and I agreed to take it on my own because I wanted this situation to kinda go away because it was such an unbelievable situation for my wife and I,” he said. “They were false allegations. So polygraphs are inadmissible in court and there’s a reason they are inadmissible.”
Hodges said he has been threatened with the allegation during several runs for political office at the local and state representative level. Democratic Party of Arkansas chairman Grant Tennille is on the record encouraging Hodges to step away as a candidate for Congress, but Hodges says they just have a difference of opinion.
“I feel very confident that I will stay in the race, and that I am going to stay in the race. You know, I’m not running for a party, although I’m a proud Democrat,” Hodges said. “I’m running for the Delta. I’m running for the people of the Delta. I consider myself a ‘Delta Democrat.’ And you see the ‘Delta’ comes before the ‘Democrat’ because the people of the First Congressional district need a voice.”
Hodges contends that incumbent U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, has been “absentee” during his decade in office. The Blytheville Democrat said he is traveling the district and finding great receptions everywhere.
Hodges said the recently enacted infrastructure package, which Crawford and the entire Arkansas GOP Congressional delegation opposed, is one illustration of legislation where he and the incumbent differ.
“We just had the bipartisan infrastructure bill. And how many people know that we need infrastructure dollars in the state of Arkansas? He [Crawford] voted against that infrastructure bill that brought four billion dollars, that’s with a ‘B,’ that’s billion with a ‘B,’ to the state of Arkansas. It’s going to help us with our broadband issues, our roads. We have first-class farmers that are producing first-class product, and they have to drive on third-world roads and bridges. So to vote against our own self-interests here in the state, here particularly in the Delta, it’s, just hard,” Hodges said.
While Hodges is the lone Democrat announced for the First District seat, Crawford is facing at least two Republican challengers. Rep. Brandt Smith, R-Jonesboro, and Cherokee Village attorney Jody Shackelford have announced they will seek the GOP nomination.