There is a real possibility that Republicans could see a run-off in the Fourth Congressional District if all the candidates and would-be candidates enter the race.
Of course, we’ve previously reported on Dardanelle native Tom Cotton’s entry. Scott County businessman Marcus Richmond has also said he’ll vie for the seat.
This coming Monday, last year’s GOP nominee in the Fourth, Beth Anne Rankin, will enter the race. Rankin told a Jefferson County audience yesterday that there will be "a lot of choices" in the Republican primary.
"I hope when you see Rankin on the ballot that you remember that I had the courage to stand up to Mike Ross and faced up to a giant with $2 million available to him to throw against me," Rankin said in this Pine Bluff Commercial article. "I’m hoping you will see that kind of courage, spirit and south Arkansas spunk. I’m hoping you’ll help me finish this race. Remember that spunky little redhead willing to vote not on what’s trendy but on what’s right."
She also discussed lessons she learned from her race against retiring Rep. Mike Ross (D-Prescott).
"I was a first-time candidate. My parents were real trailblazers in Arkansas who weren’t afraid to stand up for conservative causes when those causes were not popular in this state. I credit my parents with giving me the nerves of steel that I have," Rankin said. "I learned that I have to stay on message; less government, less taxes, and get our fiscal house in order. I tried to run my own campaign, because it never worked out to get a campaign manager who loved the Fourth District like I do."
Other Republicans contemplating a run include State Rep. Matthew Shepherd (R-El Dorado) and State Rep. Lane Jean (R-Magnolia). And, add another potential Republican candidate to the list.
Former Democrat and Green party candidate Bobby Tullis of Mineral Springs (Howard County) tells Talk Business & Politics that he will make a decision on a possible Fourth District run by October 1st and that he will run under the GOP banner if he jumps in.
"I think I can best help get our financial house in order as a Republican," Tullis said. He is a former State Representative and was a one-time Democratic candidate for State Auditor.
Last year, Tullis ran as the Green Party nominee for State Treasurer and received 32.5% of the statewide vote against Democratic incumbent Martha Shoffner. There was no Republican in the race.
"In November 2010, I got almost a quarter of a million votes – mostly Republican – and I met many voters who will help me. Between now and October 1, I will see if I have a realistic chance at the nomination for the Fourth District. I am exploring the possibility of running because D.C. is broke and my neighbors are hurting. I do not have all the answers, but the people of Arkansas do," Tullis said in an e-mail exchange.
Term-limited State Sen. Gene Jeffress (D-Louann) has been telling supporters that he plans to run for the seat on the Democratic ticket. No other Democrats have announced intentions to seek the office.