Here’s a snippet of history from the pages of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that shows what it was like in 1968 when the Republican Party of Arkansas was just beginning to take root under the leadership of Governor Winthrop Rockefeller.
Lynn Davis lost his race for secretary of state, but his bold effort–like that of many others who ran unsuccessfully as Republicans–should not be forgotten. There was much hatred from the Old Guard Democrats for those of us who were determined to build a two party system in Arkansas. We persevered, against great odds.

Sept. 2, 1968

Lynn Davis, the Republican candidate for secretary of state, Sunday came to the
defense of Rev. R. J. Hampton,the Camden Negro leader whom Marion H. Crank said had been “bought off” by the Republicans. Crank,the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, said at a press conference Friday, “Why certainly,” when asked if he thought Mr. Hampton had been “bought off.” Mr. Hampton had said previously that he was abandoning the state Democratic Party and joining the Republicans because staunch segregationists were working for Crank. “It is obviously very painful for Mr. Crank to believe that both Negro and white Democrats cannot accept the Old Guard slate and have joined others who are
interested in good government,” Davis said. “As a former Democrat from a family
of four generations of Democrats,I resent the implication that anyone who leaves the Democratic Party has been‘bought,’” Davis said.