Filing for March primary elections closes today and I can now confirm that Democrats have fielded at least one candidate for two congressional districts previously without Democratic candidates. State Sen. Joyce Elliott will file shortly to oppose incumbent Republican Rep. French Hill of Little Rock in the 2nd Congressional District.
At this moment, Democrats still lack a candidate to oppose Republican Rep. Rick Crawford in the 1st district.
Elliott is not going to file until the final hour (filing for party primaries closes at noon) and the Democrats perhaps have a surprise in the 1st District as well. They’ve seemingly fielded more candidates overall than in past years, with a noticeable turnout in some Republican strongholds such as Northwest Arkansas. But Republicans, too, are challenging in traditionally Democratic areas, such as a candidate today to oppose incumbent Democratic Rep. Chris Richey of Helena-West Helena.
I’d written earlier about a rumor that popped up on Twitter last night of Elliott as a potential candidate, which I’ve finally been able to nail down. She filed shortly after 11 a.m. An independent, Glenn Smith of Conway, also filed for the seat.
Elliott won a hotly contested Democratic primary for the nomination for the seat to succeed retiring Vic Snyder in 2010, but lost the general election to Tim Griffin, not lieutenant governor. She got 38 percent of the vote to Griffin’s 58 percent, but she did edge Griffin in Pulaski County. The county has been carried by every Democratic nominee since, but all wound up losers because of heavy Republican votes in the surrounding suburban counties. Hill beat a well-funded campaign by Rep. Clarke Tucker two years ago, despite the thrashing Tucker gave Hill in Pulaski County.
Elliott is a stalwart for education, human rights and just about every worthwhile endeavor that passes through the Arkansas legislature. Given her progressive streak, she’s also often on the losing side in the Republican-dominated legislature.
Elliott has been working in support of Josh Mahony, the Democrat who’s filed to oppose Sen. Tom Cotton, and has been urging others to run on Twitter, particularly in the 1st District, as shown here.
Just a memory. Somebody in District 01, please run. If you live in the District, encourage somebody and help them. You have until noon Tuesday, November12th. When your rep literally gives up his job… https://t.co/GkZCCzvkj8
— Joyce Elliott (@xjelliott) November 9, 2019