Only 1 of Arkansas’ US House races draws Democratic opponent
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A former member of the Little Rock School Board is challenging GOP U.S. Rep. French Hill in his run for a second term in the House representing central Arkansas, while the three other members of Arkansas’ all-Republican House delegation face no Democratic opponents this year.
Democrat Dianne Curry is hoping to unseat Hill as he seeks his second term representing the 2nd Congressional District. Curry served on Little Rock’s school board for nearly a decade before the state Board of Education took over the district last year. Libertarian Chris Hayes is also in the race for the congressional seat representing seven central Arkansas counties.
Elsewhere in the state, Republican U.S. Reps. Rick Crawford, Bruce Westerman and Steve Womack are seeking re-election and each faces a Libertarian challenger.
Long a Democratic stronghold, the 2nd District has grown increasingly red since 2010, when Tim Griffin, now lieutenant governor, was elected to the House. Griffin opted to run for the state’s No. 2 post in 2014, and Hill defeated former North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays to win the seat.
Hill, a banker who previously served as a policy adviser for President George H.W. Bush, has vastly outraised Curry in fundraising. At the end of September, Hill had about $1 million cash on hand while Curry had less than $5,000. Hayes has not reported any fundraising numbers.
But last week, a new television ad paid for by a New York-based political organization began airing in central Arkansas. The ad, funded by the Working Families Party, criticizes the congressman for supporting a rollback on banking regulations. Hill called the ad a false attack by “liberal outside special interest groups.”
THE TRUMP FACTOR
Like other leading Republicans in the state, Hill distanced himself — but did not pull his support — from Donald Trump after lewd comments made by the Republican presidential candidate in 2005 were made public. But speaking earlier this month in a debate televised on the Arkansas Educational Television Network, Hill tried to turn the issue onto Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
“I think every woman, every American, was offended by Donald Trump’s remarks,” Hill said. “They are indefensible and that’s why I think it was appropriate that he immediately apologized. But likewise, I think every American has been offended particularly by the last few months of Mrs. Clinton’s cover-ups.”
Curry, speaking at the debate, said her campaign is based on inclusion and that Trump’s comments were unacceptable.
“I feel that it’s appalling that the Republicans in this state and across the nation could support the effort, especially with the slighting that’s been done to women, Muslims, Latinos and the disabled,” she said.
OTHER RE-ELECTION BIDS
In northwest Arkansas, Libertarian Steve Isaacson is challenging Womack as the congressman seeks his fourth term in office. In the 4th Congressional District, Westerman seeks his second term in office, and he’s challenged by Libertarian Kerry Hicks.
In the 1st District, covering eastern and northern Arkansas, Crawford faces Libertarian Mark West as he seeks a fourth term.