We’ve reported on a number of efforts by the House GOP in their attempt to take the majority in the 100-member chamber, but Democrats have been strategizing, too.
Speaker of the House candidate Rep. Darrin Williams (D-Little Rock) recently took on the task of fundraising chairman for the House Democratic Caucus PAC and he says that events to raise money will begin as early as October and continue through next year.
Williams says there will be a little more structure than in the past from the House Democratic caucus. He is counting on help from the state’s Democratic constitutional officers, especially Gov. Mike Beebe (D).
"Our whole goal is to maintain our majority and gain more," Williams said. "We’re proud of the fact that we’re the majority party and we want to stay that way." Currently, Democrats hold a 54-46 advantage over Republicans in the House.
Money raised will obviously be spent to help House candidates, says Williams, but he also says to expect a "branding" effort to distinguish Arkansas Democrats from national Democrats.
"We’re going to use our resources to define what everybody already knows an Arkansas Democrat is. We’re about creating jobs, investing in education and providing the largest tax cuts ever with the grocery tax," Williams said.
He remains unconvinced that 2010′s Republican gains were the beginning of a new trend in Arkansas politics. Is Williams worried about the House GOP’s newly organized efforts to aim for majority status?
"No, not at all. They seem as organized as they always have been," he said. "I think they’re pretty excited about that last election cycle and that’s over now. I think candidates win elections."
Williams contends Arkansas Democrats in the legislature have an advantage over their Republican counterparts and that will translate to solid candidate recruitment. "When you look at the legislation we passed, we have a great track record," he said.