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National writers focus on Arkansas politics in 2014

story from Talk Business, a TCW content partner

National political writers are eyeing Arkansas politics taking a look from the influence of Bill Clinton in the 2014 races to the prospects of Democrats to hold or take Congressional seats next year.

Jonathan Martin with the New York Times was in town a week ago and wrote about the Clinton factor in the 2014 election cycle. Democrats Mike Ross, Mark Pryor, James Lee Witt, and Pat Hays have connections to Clinton that suggest he will help with fundraising, campaigning and strategy in all of the races where these gentlemen are candidates.

Writes Martin:
Both the former president and his wife are expected to take to the campaign trail here in the months ahead, and if they help Democrats win, it could underscore their enduring influence in Arkansas and suggest that she could be competitive in a state Democrats have lost ever since Mr. Clinton left the White House. However, a string of Democratic losses next year could indicate that Arkansas is joining its Southern neighbors in becoming a Republican-dominated state and could raise questions about the currency of the Clinton legacy.

In Martin’s interview with U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., who is facing a strong challenge from first-term U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle, Pryor had this to say about Clinton.
Mr. Pryor argued that the legacy of Mr. Clinton’s policies is what is most powerful.

“People are very proud in our state that President Clinton balanced the budget,” he said. “President Bush didn’t, President Obama hasn’t.”

But even Mr. Pryor acknowledged that he was uncertain what campaign appearances by Mr. Clinton would mean.

“I don’t know if that translates into votes in our state,” he said, noting that Arkansas was “very independent-minded.”

You can read the full article here.

Also, Roll Call’s Stuart Rothenberg dives into Arkansas’ two-cycle GOP shift and ponders if a third cycle is in the works.

While Democrats see Arkansas as a place to mount a counterattack after a series of defeats, Republicans believe that it will be the Democrats’ Waterloo. Eleven months from now we will know who is right.

Four races are worth watching, and if Democrats can’t win with the candidates they have, they will have every reason to write off the state in the future.

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Those four races include Governor, Senate and the Second and Fourth Congressional District contests.

Read Rothenberg’s analysis, “Is Arkansas Really the Land of Opportunity for Democrats?” at this link.

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