There is no way to sugarcoat this, but at this time, prospects for Democrats holding onto the Fourth Congressional District seat do not look promising. It is not because of the district itself, which based on recent Talk Business polls shows it is still Democratic, but because of our current crop of announced candidates.
Currently, there are only two announced candidates in this race: State Senator Gene Jeffress and Republican D.C. Morrison.
D.C. Morrison once referred to Barack Obama as a socialist and endorsed John Boozman for the U.S. Senate after his own failed run, which in anyone’s book makes him a Republican. Morrison just doesn’t have the guts to compete in the Republican primary. For perspective, would Republicans embrace a candidate who called George W. Bush a fascist and endorsed Blanche Lincoln?
Back in October, I wrote about Congressional candidates Clark Hall and Gene Jeffress and how their fundraising efforts in the last quarter of 2011 will show if they plan to run professional, modern races. To win a Congressional race, you must raise significant funds to pay for TV and radio ads, hire staff, create a campaign infrastructure, etc.
Clark Hall raised significant funds last quarter and succeeded in proving he is a serious candidate for Congress. Gene Jeffress did not.
In fact, it appears Jeffress raised little to no money last quarter since he did not file fundraising reports with the Federal Election Commission. I have tremendous respect for Senator Jeffress and the things he’s fought for the State Legislature, but he is not running a modern campaign, while the Republican Congressional candidates are.
To hold onto this seat, Democrats must do one of two things: 1) Demand Gene Jeffress get with the program and start running a real campaign ASAP. 2) Recruit another credible candidate who is willing and able to run a modern campaign. Filing closes on March 1, so they must move quickly if it’s option No. 2.
Democrats can definitely hold onto this seat. but they are currently not on the right track to do so.