Lt. Gov. Mark Darr’s office says he’ll have an announcement “on his future plans” very soon.
The widespread expectation is that Darr is planning a race for 4th District Congress. The Democrat-Gazette today indicated Darr was moving to Mansfield (his hometown, where he’s a member of the Mansfield High School Hall of Fame.)
Mansfield is in the 4th Congressional District. Darr has been spending a lot of time in the district, including visits to his alma mater, Ouachita Baptist University. Residency in the district is not required for a congressional candidate, but it’s still considered useful. For example, the current 4th District representative, Republican Tom Cotton, hadn’t lived in the district (or even Arkansas) for years, but rented a house in his former hometown of Dardanelle for political purposes when the Club for Growth sent him to Arkansas to push its agenda.
Cotton is expected to run for U.S. Senate against Mark Pryor. Darr and state Rep. Bruce Westerman, whose mailing address is Hot Springs (Fountain Lake is his neighborhood), are seen as potential Republican primary challengers if Cotton indeed runs for Senate. (Westerman is now confirming.)
Cotton hasn’t announced. I’d tend to think protocol demands that Darr not announce for anything until Cotton his made his plans known. So perhaps news today is only about relocation. Darr has lived in Springdale, where his wife has been a teacher at Shiloh Christian.
Or maybe Darr will announce he has no future political plans. Or perhaps that he will simply stay on for a second term as lieutenant governor to complete his mission there, whatever that might be. He has about $18,000 in reserve in his campaign fund at last report.
ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE: Janis Percefull of Hot Springs has announced for 4th District. Rep. Jeff Wardlaw of Warren says he’s thinking about it and so is Rep. Bobby Pierce of Sheridan. Cotton’s departure from the race should encourage Democratic interest. Whoever runs will be branded as a Nancy Pelosi puppet by the Republican Party machinery, which doesn’t have many tricks except hatred of strong women and black presidents.