Darrell Glascock (1946–2016)

Darrell Glascock was a well-known political consultant who was an active force in Arkansas politics in the 1980s and 1990s. He also ran for U.S. Congress and sought the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor of Arkansas.

Darrell Glascock was born in Tullos, Louisiana, in 1946 to Ray and Louise Glascock. He was interested in politics at an early age, and friends recalled him campaigning on behalf of state Senator Speedy Long when he was fourteen. He graduated from Georgetown High School in nearby Georgetown; he attended Northeast Louisiana University, Northwestern State University, and Louisiana State University, but he did not earn a degree. Glascock married Kitty Lou Rambo in the 1960s, and the couple had two children, a son and a daughter, the latter of whom died at age five.

His political path included service as an advance man in the successful 1964 gubernatorial campaign of John McKeithen. He was rewarded with an internship during McKeithen’s time in the Louisiana statehouse. In 1968, he formed his own public relations firm. In 1971, he was an unsuccessful candidate for a seat in the Louisiana legislature, but in 1972, he was appointed clerk of the Judiciary Committee in the Louisiana State Senate, a job he held until 1976.

Glascock worked in the ill-fated 1976 presidential campaign of Democrat George Wallace, but after Wallace dropped out of the race, Glascock went to work for the Republican Party. It was as a party worker that he arrived in Arkansas in mid-1976, assigned to work in a Republican Party voter identification program. He remained in Arkansas after the election and began working in both real estate and public relations. Working for Fairfield Communities, a company developing Fairfield Bay (Van Buren and Cleburne counties), Glascock started a weekly tabloid-style newspaper, the Fairfield Bay News, as well as KFFB-FM radio station and a cable television system for the developing community. In 1980, he worked for Republican John Connally’s brief and unsuccessful presidential campaign. Glascock returned to Fairfield Communities, did some work for the state Tourism Development Foundation Board, and also served as secretary of the Van Buren County Public Facilities Board. In 1983, Glascock established Commercial South, a public relations and real estate marketing firm in North Little Rock (Pulaski County).

He soon began doing public relations for Sheriff Tommy Robinson and was a central figure in Robinson’s successful 1984 campaign for the U.S. Congress. Following Robinson’s victory, Glascock served as Robinson’s chief of staff for the first term. Returning to Arkansas for the 1986 election, he worked in the unsuccessful campaigns of both Democrat Jim Wood, who sought to unseat Congressman Bill Alexander, and Republican Frank White, who sought again to oust Governor Bill Clinton. During the course of the gubernatorial contest, Glascock earned a permanent place in Arkansas political lore by challenging the sitting governor to take a drug test.

In 1989, he was appointed first assistant secretary of state for Louisiana, under John McKeithen Jr., a post he held for a year. He then returned to his media consulting firm, which was by then operating out of both Washington DC and Little Rock (Pulaski County). He specialized in crisis management and turnaround efforts, and Glascock’s client list ran the gamut from individuals to top corporations. Meanwhile, he continued to do political work and was involved in multiple races in each election cycle, working for candidates on both sides of the aisle.

In 1988, he undertook his own candidacy, challenging Congressman Bill Alexander in the Democratic primary. While he lost 56–44 percent, it did not deter him, and in 1990 he sought the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor, finishing fourth in a ten-candidate field, with the winner, Jim Guy Tucker, ultimately becoming governor after Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992.

In 1994, Glascock won the Republican nomination to run for state auditor, but in a year that saw Lieutenant Governor Mike Huckabee emerge as the only victorious Republican statewide winner, candidate Glascock again came up short. That same year, he was involved in a scheme with Secretary of State Bill McCuen to split profits from the sale of flags to the State of Arkansas. While the flags were never delivered, a check for $53,650 to cover the cost of the flags was sent to a bank account in Louisiana that belonged to Glascock. However, the check was never cashed.

Following his electoral losses, Glascock returned to his consulting work, expanding his reach and becoming involved in business and politics in South America, something he had dabbled in back in the 1980s when he had raised funds to aid the Contras in Nicaragua. He was in Bogota, Colombia, when he died suddenly on December 26, 2016.

For additional information:
Brantley, Max. “In Passing: Darrell Glascock.” Arkansas Times blog, January 26, 2017. https://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2017/01/26/in-passing-darrell-glascock (accessed February 23, 2018).

William H. Pruden III
Ravenscroft School


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