Local politicos have been expecting that state Rep. Clarke Tucker, who entered the race for the U.S. Second Congressional District in February, would bring in a big fundraising haul.

The Tucker campaign didn’t disappoint, announcing today that Tucker raised more than half a million dollars in the first quarter (Tucker first entered the race on February 5, so that’s a little less than two months). He ended the quarter with over $440,000 cash on hand, according to the campaign.

Tucker is vying for the Democratic nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. French Hill (whose campaign had more than $1 million cash on hand at the end of last year). In the primary, Tucker is running against activist and teacher Paul Spencer, activist and teacher Gwen Combs, and Jonathan Dunkley, a project manager at the Clinton School of Public Service. The four faced off in a debate last week.

Spencer, who is not accepting money from PACs or special interests, recently announced that he raised more than $100,000 in the first quarter of the year and has now raised more than $250,000 over the last two quarters from individual donors — more than 4,000 individuals, with an average donation of $38.


In a statement, Tucker said:

I could not be more thrilled with the generous support our campaign has received since our announcement. There is a lot of grassroots energy for new leadership in Washington, and our momentum is only growing. While I’m proud of the money we have raised, we know this campaign is much bigger than those numbers — it’s about making sure Washington is working for us here in Arkansas. Voters have overwhelmingly responded to the fact that we plan to work on the issues that make a difference in our lives on a daily basis, like affordable healthcare, quality education, and good-paying jobs, rather than to go about business as usual in DC.

In what’s expected to be a strong year for Democrats, Hill is considered vulnerable. Independent polling has shown Tucker trailing Hill in a hypothetical matchup by a margin in the single digits. Tucker’s press release highlighted the stakes:

CNN, MSNBC, and other national news outlets have rated the 2nd Congressional District of Arkansas as one of the congressional races to watch in 2018. Immediately following Tucker’s entrance into the race, CNN changed the race ranking away from ‘Safe-R,’ labeling it as a race worth watching.