Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Arkansas Congressional Primary Results

NRCC Summary: Democrats have seen their ability to win federal elections in Arkansas continuously erode in recent years, and 2012 is shaping up to be the year the state becomes solid red. Marion Berry’s retirement in 2010 paved the way for Republican Rick Crawford’s victory in to win AR-01, and he is strongly positioned to maintain his district this year. This cycle, the retirement of Democrat Mike Ross provides another important pick-up opportunity for Republicans in a state where President Obama failed to garner even 40 percent of the vote. The inability of Democrats to win either of these seats throws a wrench in the DCCC’s already steep road to win back the House. To make matters worse, Arkansas families remain in no mood for President Obama’s failed economic policies. Try as they may to attempt to distance themselves from their party’s record in Washington, Arkansas Democrats will be saddled with the albatross of President Obama and his unpopular policies that have hurt economic growth.

AR-01: Rep. Rick Crawford, R vs. Scott Ellington/ Clark Hall, D
In his first term in Congress, Rick Crawford has maintained his outsider appeal, focusing on agriculture issues that are vital to jobs in this district. He’s been a check-and-balance on President Obama and Washington Democrats’ reckless policies. Meanwhile, Democrats must be reeling after their chosen candidate, Clark Hall, failed to secure the primary. As final votes were being reported, Hall was limping toward a run-off with top vote-getter Scott Ellington, although the final outcome is still unclear. Ellington is running to reinstate Pelosi as speaker and rubber stamp more Obama policies. Hall, who came in second, has already been endorsed by Nancy Pelosi as part of the Democrats’ Red to Blue program. Either candidate will find himself constantly having to run from Obama’s policies, which are highly unpopular in this district. Additionally, Ellington’s involvement in a controversial agreement led to the release of the West Memphis Three, convicted in the 1993 slaying of three 8-year-old boys.

AR-04: Tom Cotton, R vs. Gene Jeffress/ Q. Byrum Hurst, D
In another blow to national Democrats, their hand-picked candidate Q. Byrum Hurst finds himself in a runoff, leaving them without a clear challenger in this already difficult race. Republicans have a strong candidate in Tom Cotton, a sixth-generation Arkansan who was born and raised in Dardanelle on his family’s cattle farm. A Harvard Law School graduate, Tom felt called to serve his country in uniform after Sept. 11, and he ultimately left his law practice to join the Army – serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette put it best in its primary endorsement of Cotton:
“Whatever one's opinion of the politics and personality, the vices and virtues, of Arkansas legends like J. William Fulbright and Bill Clinton and Winthrop Rockefeller, each played a pivotal role in this state's history. Tom Cotton could be the next such figure. If voters in the Fourth District give him a start.”

Democrats will see a June 12 runoff between Gene Jeffress and Hurst. Hurst was initially touted by national Democrats but has been marred by revelations that he faces a litany of liens for failing to pay more than $25,000 in taxes. If Democrats pick Jeffress, he will be running with little to no excitement or assistance from Washington Democrats and he has few resources in his own campaign.

STATEWIDE ROUNDUP
The following are the unofficial results from Tuesday’s primary election in Arkansas. These results are unofficial and incomplete.
Red Indicates expected runnoff

AR-01 – DEM Primary
28 of 30 Counties Reporting
Scott Ellington                                           49.5%
Clark Hall                                                    38.8%
Gary Latanich                                                 12%

AR-04 – REP Primary
31 of 33 Counties Reporting
Tom Cotton [winner]                            57%
Beth Anne Rankin                                     38%
John Cowart                                                 5%

AR-04 – DEM Primary
31 of 33 Counties Reporting
Gene Jeffress R                                       40%
Q. Byrum Hurst R                                  36%
D.C. Morrison                                             25%
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Editor Note: Arkansas Republicans did not have primaries for AR-02 or Rep Tim Griffin and AR-03 - Rep. Steve Womack. However they both have contested races in the general election. Rep. Tim Griffin (R) will be opposed by Herb Rule (D) and Rep Steve Womack (R) will be opposed by Ken Aden.

If Arkansas elects Tom Cotton and re-elects Rick Crawford, Tim Griffin and Steve Womack, Arkansas will be represented by four Republican military veterans.

Tags: NRCC, Round-up, Arkansas, Congressional races, AR-01, Rick Crawford, AR-04, Tom Cotton

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