Candidate filing began at the state capitol without any surprises so far. A large crowd made up primarily of state legislative candidates filled up the rotunda as the official period began at noon. The” first to file” award went to Rep. David Meeks (R-Conway.)
Congress Rick Crawford (R-AR1) was in town to file his papers for re-election.
“We’re going to work hard and not take anything for granted,” said Crawford. “We ran a good campaign first time and we’re going to continue to work hard. We think we will have a good outcome.”
Crawford said he was not concerned about the shape of his new district as he felt he has always done well with farmers based on his agriculture background. He said that it just means he will “have to drive a little bit further.”
State Rep. Clark Hall will take on Gary Latanich in the Democratic Primary to see who will oppose Crawford in the general election.
Down in the Fourth Congressional District, Democratic State Sen. Gene Jeffress was one of the first in line to file quickly, dispelling any rumor that he was not going to run. Although he announced last fall, Jeffress has not yet reported raising any funds. He said he soon would be filing a report, but it will be “not a lot,” but enough to pay his filing fee of $8,000.
“We are going to be viable,” said Jeffress. “We are not going to try to raise those millions of dollars. I want to be able to represent my people of the Fourth District not all those corporations up in D.C… People are going to be surprised.”
Jeffress said he is running because “we need America back – it is not about party politics.” He explained that America is “like a runaway train on the wrong track.”
Jeffress also said that he will support President Obama in the upcoming election even though he was aware that might not be popular with everyone in his district. At the same time, Jeffress described himself “as conservative (as Congressman Ross) or maybe even a little bit more” and made a point to mention that he is reaching out to Tea Party groups in his district.
Democratic Party of Arkansas Chairman Will Bond tells me he expects D.C. Morrison and at least one other unnamed candidate to file for the Fourth District. Republicans Tom Cotton, Beth Anne Rankin, and John Cowart have announced they plan to run. Bond also expects that former State Rep. Jay Martin will file in the Second District against Congressman Tim Griffin.
Also today, former RPA Chairman Dennis Milligan filed the paperwork for Newt Gingrich to appear on the ballot, and Alice Stewart filed the paperwork for Rick Santorum. It is expected that Congressman Tim Griffin will file papers on behalf of Mitt Romney tomorrow.
Filing continues through next Thursday at noon. We will be updating our list at Talk Politics as candidates file and you can follow live updates from the Secretary of State on their website and twitter feed.