Democrats Aggressively Recruiting For Griffin’s Arkansas Seat

The Little Rock district favors Republicans, but Democrats think they can recruit a credible candidate.

Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffin
National Journal
Sarah Mimms
See more stories about...
Sarah Mimms
Oct. 21, 2013, 9:01 a.m.

Arkan­sas GOP Rep. Tim Griffin sur­prised Re­pub­lic­ans by an­noun­cing that he’ll re­tire in 2014 after just two terms in of­fice, giv­ing na­tion­al Demo­crats hope that they’ll be able to con­test a seat in an in­creas­ingly Re­pub­lic­an state.

Griffin was widely as­sumed to be seek­ing reelec­tion, and had raised more than $200,000 in each of the last two fun­drais­ing quar­ters. He passed up a Sen­ate cam­paign in or­der to re­main on the in­flu­en­tial House Ways and Means Com­mit­tee earli­er this year.

Both parties have a deep bench of can­did­ates look­ing to suc­ceed Griffin. For Re­pub­lic­ans, state Sen. Dav­id Sanders and French Hill, the founder, chair­man and CEO of Delta Trust & Bank­ing Corp., are both con­sidered po­ten­tial can­did­ates, ac­cord­ing to a na­tion­al GOP op­er­at­ive.

Na­tion­al Demo­crats had already trained re­sources in­to Arkan­sas, hop­ing to re­cruit a cred­ible chal­lenger against Griffin. Party op­er­at­ives noted that it is the most com­pet­it­ive dis­trict in the state, with Mitt Rom­ney win­ning 55 per­cent of the vote there. And they thought Griffin’s sup­port for the oil in­dustry could be­come a vul­ner­ab­il­ity giv­en a ma­jor oil spill with­in the dis­trict this year.

Demo­crats are pro­mot­ing former North Little Rock May­or Patrick Henry Hays, who was sched­uled to an­nounce his can­did­acy for the Second Dis­trict seat on Tues­day even be­fore Griffin made his plans known, ac­cord­ing to a Demo­crat­ic op­er­at­ive. To wit, his web­site ( Patrick­Henry­Hays.com), which was act­ive as re­cently as two weeks ago, now ap­pears to be un­der con­struc­tion.

Hays served for six terms as may­or, where he re­vital­ized the small town north of a ma­jor Demo­crat­ic en­clave. He re­tired last year at age 65. Should he jump in­to the race to­mor­row, he’d have a head-start on the rest of the field, still reel­ing from Griffin’s un­ex­pec­ted an­nounce­ment.

Former Lt. Gov. Bill Hal­ter was ini­tially the party fa­vor­ite for the seat. Na­tion­al and state Demo­crats pushed Hal­ter early on to drop out of the gubernat­ori­al race — which he did, in Ju­ly — in or­der to chal­lenge Griffin. But Hal­ter struggled to raise money in the gubernat­ori­al race and has been si­lent about the House race in re­cent months, an in­dic­a­tion his in­terests may lie else­where. He’s also an out­spoken pro­gress­ive, and could have trouble win­ning over more con­ser­vat­ive voters ne­ces­sary to win a GOP-lean­ing House dis­trict.

Oth­er po­ten­tial Demo­crat­ic can­did­ates in­clude Con­way May­or Tab Town­sell, former state Rep. Linda Tyler and Little Rock School Board Pres­id­ent Di­anne Curry, who dropped a bid for lieu­ten­ant gov­ernor earli­er this year and said in Ju­ly that she had spoken to EMILY’s List about run­ning for Griffin’s seat.

What We're Following See More »
MORE EXECUTIVE ORDERS
Panama Papers Spur White House to Crack Down on Evasion
53 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

In the The White House on Thursday night unveiled a series of executive actions to combat money laundering—"among the most comprehensive response yet to the Panama Papers revelations." The president's orders will tighten transparency rules, close loopholes that allow "foreigners to hide financial activity behind anonymous entities in the U.S., and demand stricter “customer due diligence” rules for banks.

Source:
THE QUESTION
Who’s #NeverTrump Courting as Possible Candidates
1 hours ago
THE ANSWER

The #NeverTrump movement is now mulling the idea of recruiting a candidate to run as an independent or under a third-party banner. But who might it be? The Hill offers a preliminary list.

  • Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE)
  • Mitt Romney
  • 2012 (and perhaps 2016) Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson
  • Former Marine Gen. John Kelly
  • Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI)
  • Former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)
  • South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley
  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
Source:
362,000 JOBS ADDED
‘Mildly Disappointing’ Jobs Report
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The U.S. economy added 160,000 jobs in April, a "mildly disappointing" result relative to the 200,000 expected, according to the New York Times' Neil Irwin. On the plus side, hourly earnings were up 2.5% from a year ago. But on the other hand, "the labor force shrank by 362,000 people and the labor force participation rate fell by 0.2 percentage points."

Source:
AND VICE VERSA
Plurality of Trump Voters Just Want to Stop Clinton
2 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

"Nearly half of American voters who support either Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump for the White House said they will mainly be trying to block the other side from winning, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Thursday." When Trump supporters were asked to give their primary reason for supporting him, 47% said to block Clinton from winning. In almost a mirror image, 46% of Clinton supporters said they were primarily out to thwart Trump.

Source:
IF HE’LL JUST LISTEN…
Many GOPers Still Think Trump Can Be Brought to Heel
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS
×