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The "common man" from Stuttgart: Heath Loftis takes abortion fight to the U.S. Senate stage

Apr 22, 2022

Journalists and political types around the state have been intrigued by Heath Loftis, who is running an unconventional but principled race for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Arkansas.

The top issue of the "Pastor Heath Loftis for Senate" campaign is the complete abolition of abortion. 

In fact, the pastor from Southeast Arkansas does not believe abortion is acceptable in any circumstance. And he is not shy about telling you why he thinks this.

Texarkana News has been interested in talking to the 38-year-old Loftis for several weeks. And we were lucky to catch up with him in Stuttgart for about one hour on Wednesday afternoon.

An unassuming Arkansan

Heath Loftis is doing just about everything to run his Senate campaign.

He doesn't have a "PR" person. But he seems open to the possibility of finding one who would volunteer.

Heath Loftis also said he is late to the party on printing campaign signs. However, "Pastor Heath Loftis for Senate" signs arrived yesterday.

In a race where John Boozman and Jan Morgan have defined images, we asked Loftis to describe where he fit in with his fellow candidates.

The humble way he described himself could (and probably should) be a TV ad for his Senate campaign. His words would also be good lyrics for a country song. Loftis said:

I'm just the common man.

I don't have any pedigree

I've never played for the Razorbacks

I haven't been on TV a whole lot

I'm not a sitting U.S. Senator

I am just the common man from Stuttgart, Arkansas

The above quote did not seem to be pre-planned, and it was said off the cuff.

The imagery of the message of Heath Loftis is powerful and would impress most Arkansas voters - especially those who are longing for a true man or woman of the people.

And Loftis fits the bill. "I am the man deciding whether to buy a four-dollar gallon of milk or a gallon of gas," he said. "I am that man."

Indeed, the idea of an average citizen going to Washington, D.C., is as powerful an image in 2022 as in 1939, when the film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington charmed the nation.

Like Jimmy Stewart, Loftis said he believes voters should demand someone with common sense. And he calls it "Arkansas sense."

The 2020 election was the spark for his campaign

"After the election. I deleted all my social media accounts," Heath Loftis said. "I was just so mad at the world. And so, that's why you won't see anything go beyond February."

"But I also realized we must have election integrity," Loftis said. "So when I decided I was going to run for office, I came back... reluctantly. I really don't like social media. But it's a necessary evil."

An alarming realization

Besides the 2020 election, the other catalyst for his race for U.S. Senate was his strong stance against abortion - in all cases.

"There was a pro-life bill that was brought up... and it was dead on arrival," Loftis said. "The question that came to me was: Where was this bill two years or four years ago?"

At that moment, Loftis said it was "painfully obvious" that Washington, DC was "completely" fake.

"I realized this is nothing more than wrestling. This is theater. It's fake," Heath Loftis added. "It's all gamesmanship. They use people's passions and desires to extract money and get elected to office. But nobody is really up there to solve anything."

Standing up for the unborn

According to Loftis, the mainstream pro-life movement has been unsuccessful.

"The pro-life movement has betrayed us in many ways," Loftis said. "What I mean by that is there are unintended consequences in the pro-life Community which was ignorant to the fact that we have actually enshrined abortion in law through compromise and incrementalism."

Loftis believed that the current discussions, which involve 6 weeks, 12 weeks, 19 weeks, etc., do not adequately address the view that abortion is always wrong.

"We are saying that abortion is permissible," Loftis said. "But we must come to the conclusion that abortion is wrong - not just from a Christian standpoint but from a constitutional standpoint. A child at conception is a person."

Loftis said a child in the womb should be "afforded the same rights and protections that the constitution recognizes" for every person.

Not a one-issue candidacy

"People say you can't be a one-issue candidate on abortion," Loftis said. "But this issue touches everything."

Loftis said he believes American society must discuss what constitutes a "person." If not, he said it won't be long before other people could be denied personhood.

This includes people who have not taken a particular vaccine or other population segments.

Even in instances of rape, Loftis said abortion is not warranted. "In the Christian faith, we don't punish the child for the offenses of a father," Loftis said.

And, of course, Loftis believes rapists should be punished to the full extent of the law upon conviction. 

A well-educated candidate

Loftis has a BA in agriculture business from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. He also has a master's degree and doctorate - both in divinity.

The pastor also proudly served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, and he left for Bootcamp on Valentine's day - much to the chagrin of his wife. 

"That's how much I love my country," Loftis said. 

However, he said his wife was not too thrilled with the February 14 departure date.

Wife Ashley Loftis later graduated from the inaugural class of the Physician's Assistant program at the UAMS College of Health Professions in Little Rock.

The couple has three children: Garrison, Elizabeth, and Elliot.

A family farmer

The Senate candidate said he would like to serve for only one term if elected.

"I'm only looking to be a one-term Senator," Loftis said. "I want to raise my kids on the same family farm I grew up on and show them the value of hard work."

He added: "This is something I feel called to do. When my six years are up, I want to come home and live peaceably. I don't want to make a life of this. I want to serve my country, serve Arkansas and hopefully come home to an even better Arkansas.

A purposeful campaign

Heath Loftis is a remarkably focused candidate. 

After the 2020 election, Loftis was angry - as many people were.

At the same time, he has long believed that abortion and its acceptance in any form have damaged the fabric of America.

In his statement of candidacy, Loftis said: "Life begins at conception. The unborn child should be afforded equal protection. There is no situation in which abortion is permissible."

The message of Loftis is gaining traction in Arkansas and other states as citizens have identified that any acceptance or compromise on hot-button issues is a slippery slope that leads to more and more left-leaning policies.

This is the fight of Heath Loftis - the "common man from Stuttgart" who says it's time for average Arkansans to stand up and be counted.

Signs arrive for the Pastor Heath Loftis for U.S. Senate campaign on April 21, 2022.

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