Rutledge seems to be one of those people representing the future of the Republican party.
Leslie Rutledge, the attorney general of Arkansas, is a rising star in the Republican Party, especially under President Donald Trump. She gave a prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention in 2016, which she dedicated to bashing Hillary Clinton with conspiracy theories about the alleged evil deeds of the Clinton Foundation. Rutledge is currently head of the Republican Attorneys General Association and has been Arkansas attorney general for three years. (She is up for re-election this fall.)
Rutledge, who worked for former Gov. Mike Huckabee both in state government and on his presidential campaign, appears to be tight with the Huckabee family, who are immensely powerful in Arkansas.
First sign of trouble: she’s buddies with the Huckabees? Why are those cornpone sleazy yokels “powerful” in Arkansas in the first place?
But, you should be asking, “What about her emails?” She has a very ugly history.
Most of the emails are smarmy sex jokes or contain foul language, which was clearly embarrassing for a Republican with a wholesome image. But one stands out, in particular, for the racist content.
Rutledge apparently copy and pasted another email from “a friend of mine” who “works d’town with battered women” that purportedly tells a story about clients coming to her office. Rutledge’s friend wrote it in a heavily stereotypical dialect that appears meant to mock the clients. Here is an excerpt:
De problem be wit his baby momma. Actually it turn out he not be de daddy (I saw the paternity test results) but he done been payin’ chile suppote fo 5 year cuz Jesus done sent dat baby and it doan make no diffence who be de daddy iffn Jesus want him to be de daddy and take o’ dat baby what nobody want ‘cept him and his own mama.
The email goes on for five paragraphs in that vein, as the author writes that “baby’s momma done turn into a ho and a stripper and she be raisin’ fusses” and mocks a client’s mother by writing, “we be getting de Gospel Punctuation from his mama: ‘Hallelujah! Amen! Oh yes Jesus! Um hm!'”
That’s the kind of thing that would be the kiss of death for a Democrat — we’d be waving their career bye-bye. It’s no problem at all for a “Christian, pro-life, gun-carrying conservative woman,” though.
Something did get her booted out of one Arkansas office, at least. We don’t know exactly what she did, but it must have been terrible if it offended an Arkansas Republican.
These two emails were sent in August and October of 2007. Rutledge left Arkansas DHS in December of that year. After that, a note was added to her file accusing her of “gross misconduct” and instructing that she not be rehired. It is unclear whether the alleged misconduct was related to these emails or to other matters. Emails from Salon to Arkansas DHS asking for further clarification received no response.
She’s definitely one to watch. At this rate, she’ll be running for president in 2020.