Rep. Clark Hall (D-Marvell) will challenge Cong. Rick Crawford (R) in the First Congressional District in 2012.

Hall has been a rumored candidate for the post for several weeks, but plans to make it official today (Monday, Oct. 17), Talk Business has learned.

Crawford is a first-term Congressman from Jonesboro who defeated Democratic nominee Chad Causey in 2010 when the seat was left open by retiring Cong. Marion Berry (D). Crawford was the first Republican to win the seat since Reconstruction.

Hall is chairman of the House State Agencies committee, which redrew Congressional lines in the last legislative session making the First District more favorable for Democratic candidates. The term-limited state legislator is a farmer and businessman in the region and previously served as mayor of Marvell.

No other candidates, Republican or Democrat, have announced for the seat.  In a mid-September Talk Business/Hendrix College survey, First District constituents gave Crawford a job approval rating of 35% versus 23% who disapproved. However, 42% of constituents had no opinion on Crawford’s job performance.

UPDATE:  Hall formally issued a statement around 9 a.m. this morning. The following are excerpts from quotes in the release:

"The 1st district deserves a Congressman who understands what hard working families are going through and wants to put people ahead of the special interests," Hall said. "That is what I have done throughout my whole life, and that is what we have to do again if we’re going to create job opportunities for Arkansans and get our country moving in the right direction," Hall said in a campaign announcement.

"Washington is broken, and politicians who put partisanship before people are a big part of the problem," said Hall. "Since coming to power, our current Congressman and his friends have taken their eye off the number one priority in Arkansas and America – creating jobs. They have pushed a rigid partisan agenda that threatens our nation’s commitment to our seniors and future generations instead of focusing on putting people back to work. Rather than trying to end Medicare and jeopardize Social Security, the top priority of Washington politicians should be turning our economy around and creating jobs.

"We need leaders in Washington who understand that bipartisanship isn’t a dirty word and recognize that the challenges we face require that we work together," Hall said. "As a mayor and a state legislator I have always put people before party and focused on finding solutions rather than who gets credit. That is the kind of Congressman I will be. In the coming months I look forward to listening to the people in the first district and sharing my vision to put the 1st district FIRST. Our best days have yet to come, and together we’ll work to improve the lives of Arkansans and get America back on track." 

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