Asa Hutchinson,
one of the Republican gubernatorial candidates, spoke Saturday to the Van Buren County Republican Party’s Reagan luncheon in Clinton.

What’s interesting was his calling attention to a “distinguished individual” in the audience. He noted the surprising and disappointing announcement last week that U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin would not be seeking re-election to Congress. Then  he said, “I’m delighted French Hill is here in the room. [He] would be an oustanding candidate for that office. I’m nudging him.”


Hill is the Little Rock banker who’d announced for an open state House seat but said after Griffin’s announcement that he’d consider a 2nd District run. He worked in Washington during the administration of George H.W. Bush.

So you have Asa Hutchinson giving a seal of approval in a race in which there are likely to be current members of the Arkansas legislature, a powerful contingent in today’s Republican politics. Rep. Ann Clemmer is expected to announce Wednesday. Sen. Jonathan Dismang is considering giving up his glide path to the powerful Senate president pro tem seat to make a run. I’d been told earlier that he had important spousal clearance and was  looking hard at the race, but events today lead others to think now he’s less likely to make race. A Tea Partyer, at least one other Republican legislator and a former Young Republican leader are also among other potential GOP candidates. Indeed, Teabagger Conrad Reynolds, retired from the Army and trounced in a 2010 Senate Race, said he’ll talk about his candidacy on the ‘baggers radio channel this afternoon.


AFTERNOON ADDITION: I got a note from Dismang. It said: “Your assessment of my position is good, though power isn’t my drive on either. It’s a long time until filing day and I am not ruling out a run.” He joked later that he had to dig up a 10th-generation Arkansas pedigree first.

Some think Asa showed his age as a long-ago (and thrice failed) statewide candidate by touting a Bush I administration establishment figure in what could be a spirited race involving new crop Republicans. It certainly isn’t likely to kindle affection among them. Clemmer’s entry into the race also was a HUGE favor to Asa’s nephew, Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, who otherwise faces a primary challenge from her. Ouch.


UPDATE: How about that? Asa’s nudge worked, or was at least timely. French Hill announced this morning that he would make the run for Congress. Call me dead wrong in thinking the deliberate Hill wouldn’t turn on a dime from a state House race to a congressional race. Can he shake GOP suspicions that he’s a moderate by their current standards? I expect he’ll do all he can to disabuse that notion, though it might play better in Pulaski County than, say Saline or White.

Hill posted his announcement on his Facebook page about 11:45 a.m.He put up a form for contributions a few minutes earlier. The news release follows. A consultant on the news release is Mike Huckabee’s son-in-law Brian Sanders. Hill said Congress needs a businessman. He doesn’t like Obamacare and Dodd-Frank. No social issues were mentioned. He retains the ninth generation Arkansan label that appeared in his state House announcement. Many genealogy buffs have begged for a family tree, interested by such deep Arkansas roots.

Hill reported $100,000 banked for his state House race. He can’t roll that money over, but I’m guessing most contributors would be happy to direct it to a new race. He elaborates on the race some here.



October 29, 2013

October 29, 2013
For more information, contact: Bryan Sanders, 501-414-0074,

French Hill Announces for U.S. House of Representatives in District 2, Arkansas

Little Rock, AR—- Little Rock businessman and civic leader, French Hill, 56, announced today that he is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in District 2, Arkansas, the seat being vacated by Rep. Tim Griffin. French Hill called Congressman Griffin to notify him of his decision to run and is filing his paperwork to establish a committee with the Federal Election Commission today.

In making the announcement, Mr. Hill said, “I’m running for Congress because we need more business leaders in Congress— not more career politicians. I grew up in the Second District and live and work here today. Everyday at my business my priorities are helping Arkansas’s entrepreneurs start and grow their own businesses and encouraging families to save and invest. I know first hand the challenges businesses and families in Arkansas face, and in Congress, I will fight every day for policies that spur economic growth and job creation. I will demand greater accountability at every level of the federal government and do away with job killing policies like ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank. Representing the Second District in Congress would be an honor, and I look forward to working hard to earn the trust and support of Arkansans in the months ahead.”

​ More on French Hill: A ninth generation Arkansan, Mr. Hill has devoted himself to building central Arkansas as a premier place to live, work, and raise a family. After a successful career with Arkansas’s largest financial institution, in 1999, he founded Delta Trust & Banking Corp., a banking and investment business headquartered in little Rock. He serves as a chairman and chief executive officer. Delta Trust has grown from an idea on paper to a business employing over 130 bankers. trust, insurance, and investment advisors across ten offices in the state of Arkansas and with customers across the country.

In addition to his business endeavors, Mr. Hill is generous with his time, serving many civic organizations including service as a trustee of the George W. Donaghey Foundation, benefiting the growth and development of UALR; a board member of the Quapaw Area Council, Boy Scouts of America; past president of Fifty for the Future; past president of the Rotary Club of Little Rock; past board member of the Little Rock Catholic High School Foundation; a commissioner of the Historic Arkansas Museum; and he is serving as the 2013 chairman of the board of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Hill and his wife Martha have two children, Liza and Payne, and they attend the Cathedral of St. Andrew Catholic Church. Mr. Hill is a 1975 graduate of Little Rock Catholic High School and a 1979 magna cum laude graduate in economics from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. Prior to his return to Little Rock in 1993, Mr. Hill was a senior economic policy advisor to President George H. W. Bush and served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. For his service a the Treasury and the White House, he was awarded the Treasury’s Distinguished Service Award in 1993. Working with the late Senator John G. Tower, Hill served as a senior legislative aide on the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs from 1982 to 1984. Mr. Hill is a passionate outdoors-man, and he actively enjoys hunting, fishing, canoeing, camping, and backpacking in the Natural State. He is a Life Member of the NRA and the Ozark Society as well as a member of Ducks Unlimited. He is a past south central section chair of The American Alpine Club.