Republican Challenges Rep. Womack for Seat – Story

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Rep. Steve Womack, R-Arkansas, now has a Republican challenger for his seat in the 3rd congressional district.

Robb Ryerse announced his candidacy as an independent Republican on Tuesday evening. He’s a third generation pastor at Vintage Fellowship in Fayetteville.

Brand New Congress

Ryerse said he was approached by the political action committee Brand New Congress after being nominated to run with other candidates backed by the group. Brand New Congress is backing 400 candidates across the nation.

The pastor has never held political office before, but he describes himself as a “lifelong Republican,” who wants to return the party to its historical values.

“This is not the party I grew up in,” Ryerse said, describing his disdain for the GOP’s current path.

Too many politicians place party loyalty over constituents, the pastor said.

Tax Reform and Healthcare

If elected, Ryerse wants to push for “meaningful tax reform” and level the playing field for small businesses. Rather than look at percentages for tax cuts, the Republican said he wants to examine tax loopholes large corporations take advantage of that allow some to pay so little.

Healthcare also ties into Ryerse’s goal to ease burdens on small businesses. The Republican said he supports a “Medicare for all” approach to give every American healthcare.

“I think that’s consistent with Republican values,” he said.

He said current healthcare requirements burden small businesses, and the cost of having to provide health insurance to employees can make companies hesitate to expand.

Ryerse said it makes good sense for entrepreneurs and small businesses if Americans all have access to healthcare. He also called it a good moral decision.

Rep. Womack

Ryerse said his personal dissatisfaction with Womack goes back to a letter he wrote to then Secretary of State John Kerry outlining “severe concerns” he had with a Northwest Arkansas group receiving certification to resettle refugees in The Natural State.

“When I read that letter, I decided I wasn’t going to vote for Womack again,” he said.

Womack’s office released the following statement on Ryerse’s candidacy:

The beauty of the electoral process in this country is that anyone can get involved. While many are starting to focus on campaigns and elections, that is far from being at the forefront of the congressman’s conversations. Congressman Womack is focused on his work representing the people of the third district in Washington, D.C., and back home in Arkansas.”

A Democrat, Joshua Mahony has also announced candidacy for the third congressional district.

KNWA/KFTA do not endorse any political candidate, and we will post similar articles for others that enter this race.