U.S. Rep. John Boozman, R-Rogers, tells The City Wire he will have a decision no later than Jan. 29 about his potential run for the U.S. Senate.
News broke Thursday (Jan. 21) that Boozman, who is in his fifth term as Arkansas’ 3rd District congressman, is considering entering the already crowded Republican field seeking the chance to challenge U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark. in the November general election.
Boozman said he did not initiate the reconsideration but in the past few days has fielded numerous calls from people in the district, around the state and in national political circles who have asked him to consider the run. Boozman has already announced he was seeking reelection.
To be fair to the nine candidates already announced for the GOP primary in the Senate race and in other races potentially altered by his race switch, Boozman said he will soon make a decision.
“I’m not playing games with this thing,” Boozman said. “It’s not fair to these candidates who are working so hard” on other races.
He also said it has become clear that the political environment has changed in recent weeks, with Americans “rejecting the (liberal) message” and “rejecting the messengers.”
The election of Republicans to prominent posts in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts has emboldened national Republican leaders to more aggressively pursue ousting Democrats in vulnerable seats.
And Lincoln is indeed vulnerable. A recent Talk Business Quarterly poll suggests that Lincoln has a 57% unfavorable rating among likely Arkansas voters, and that 56% of likely voters disapprove of her job performance.
Gov. Mike Beebe said Friday that the recent and rumored moves in the U.S. Senate race and Arkansas’ 2nd and 3rd Congressional districts is the most “volatile and dynamic” he’s seen in his years of observing state politics. He said each change results in numerous “dominoes” falling in other statewide and local races.
When asked about Lincoln’s situation, Beebe would not discuss specific races but did note that Arkansans are “notoriously independent” with their politics. He said state politics require candidates to above all else have a strong “likability quotient.”
Beebe, a Democrat. appears to have the quotient. The Talk Business Quarterly Poll that found Arkansans disapproving of Democrat Lincoln revealed an unprecedented 82% favorable rating for Beebe. And the split on the two Democrats also points to the political independence to which Beebe referred.