Wesley Clark may run for 2nd District seat; GOP field could grow

Wesley Clark, the Little Rock-native who served 34 years in the U.S. Army including a stint as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, could enter the race as a Democrat for the 2nd Congressional District.

The Democratic spot recently opened up with the announcement by U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder, D-Little Rock, that he would not seek reelection.

Roby Brock, a content parter with The City Wire at TalkBusiness.net, reports in this story that there is chatter in Democratic circles about interest from Clark as a Congressional candidate.  Brock writes that a credible source says an internal discussion is taking place, and Clark is giving it serious consideration.

Clark, a Democrat, is a Little Rock native and has kept his profile high in state through a number of good causes. As a former NATO Supreme Commander and through his post-military analyst work, he has instant credibility on foreign affairs, Brock noted in the report.

Brock offers the following analysis on why Clark would be a strong candidate: “He’s bolstered his domestic agenda credentials in his former Presidential run and through work with groups on health care reform and climate change. Clark would bring a national, if not international, fundraising apparatus to a House run. He’d also be capable of resurrecting a volunteer base in central Arkansas where he maintained a headquarters when he ran for President.”

Also, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter has reported his interest in the Congressional seat. Halter released the following statement Monday (Jan. 18) afternoon: “I have received many telephone calls from Arkansans offering me encouragement and support since Congressman Vic Snyder announced he would not seek re-election. I am grateful, I am listening and I am now seriously considering all options. These considerations center on where to best fight for better jobs and greater opportunities for Arkansans.”

Brock also reports that Snyder’s decision to not seek re-election could change the dynamic in the Republican primary for the 2nd District.

Several notable names have emerged as possible entries in the 2nd District GOP primary, which has three announced candidates: frontrunner and former U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin, Little Rock restaurateur Scott Wallace, and David Meeks of Conway.

The other names that have surfaced include State Sen. Gilbert Baker, R-Conway; Bud Cummins, former U.S. Attorney and former GOP candidate for the 2nd District seat; French Hill, prominent Little Rock banker and former Bush Administration official; and Phil Wyrick, former State Senator and former GOP candidate for the 2nd District seat.

But Brock offers this analysis as to why most of the possible GOP candidates will stay out of the race.

“Griffin has a huge head start with his fundraising turning in an impressive $250,000 in the fourth quarter. He has $315,000 cash on hand. More importantly, Griffin tactically announced during the Snyder surprise that Little Rock businessman Warren Stephens would serve as his campaign finance chairman.

“This is an important endorsement in Republican circles and sends a clear signal to GOP contenders that Griffin has old guard Republican support. Stephens’ endorsement of Griffin would be news that any campaign would want to carefully time for an announcement to maximize media coverage. Slipping it in the flurry of news on a frenzied Friday afternoon doesn’t fit that strategy. It was more important to send a signal to potential rivals sensing an opening that Griffin is the chosen one.”

Also, the National Republican Congressional Committee kicked out a late Friday afternoon (Jan. 15) press release as follows: “Tim Griffin has been running an extraordinary campaign fueled by strong local support that forced a 13-year incumbent into retirement one year after he faced no Republican opposition. Whomever the Democrats nominate as their sacrificial lamb will be facing a formidable candidate in Griffin and running in a state that has proved to be ground-zero for fever-pitch opposition to the Obama-Pelosi agenda – and any hapless Democrat who seeks to advance that agenda in Washington.”

Link here for Brock’s complete analysis on the GOP side of the 2nd District race.