The Cook Political Report, essentially a fantasy baseball website for people who enjoy politics instead of sports, offered a relatively encouraging outlook for Democrats in the state’s Second Congressional District today. The site announced that it was shifting the district from “Likely R” to “Lean R.” Get excited.

State Rep. Clarke Tucker, who is running in the Democratic primary to challenge incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill for the Second Congressional District seat, today touted the “huge news” in a press release.


“Every day, we can feel our campaign gaining more and more momentum with the folks of the 2nd District,” campaign manger Don Shaw stated in the release. “The news of the rating shift as one step closer to tossup is really not so surprising — we’re just seeing the polls reflect what we feel here on the ground in Central Arkansas. People just love Clarke.”

One small grain of salt to note is that while political consultants care a great deal about what direction the sorcerers at the Cook Political Report point their wands, these incremental rating shifts do not actually have any bearing on election results.


Tucker’s campaign credited his entry into the race and his “dominant performance” for the shift.

Before he can challenge Hill, Tucker has to come out on top in the Democratic primary. Tucker is the favorite in a crowded field, facing off against teacher and activist Paul Spencer, teacher and activist Gwen Combs, and Jonathan Dunkley, a project manager at the Clinton School of Public Service.


Here’s the Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman on the race:

Democrats haven’t won a House race in Arkansas since 2010, but they’re ecstatic about state Rep. Clarke Tucker’s candidacy against former banker and two-term GOP Rep. French Hill. Tucker, a 37 year old attorney who represents close-in Little Rock suburbs, is regarded as a rising star in the party and plans to talk about his recent experience beating bladder cancer in the context of the healthcare debate.

This Little Rock district gave President Trump 52 percent in 2016, his weakest showing in the state. And at least one Democratic survey has found Tucker in a surprisingly competitive position against Hill. Tucker raised $505,000 in the first quarter of 2018, and will likely need to spend some of it to get past high school teacher Paul Spencer in the primary. Hill has $1.5 million and could also self-fund if necessary.