Republicans are poised to gain control of the Arkansas House and Senate for the first time since Reconstruction. Democrats have pulled out all the stops to prevent it from happening.
By the end of the night this Tuesday (Nov. 6), we’ll know who was successful.
Republicans have had a simple one-edged sword to pierce Democrats at all levels – the unpopularity of President Barack Obama.
In legislative races across the state, Democratic candidates have been tied to Obama by their GOP challengers and a cadre of third party groups who pummeled Democrats on issues involving taxes, health care and the size of government.
While Democrats have had the albatross of Obama to contend with, the President has presented both a challenge and an opportunity.
They need base Democratic voters – who support Obama by more than 80% – to turn out enthusiastically for their candidates. Conversely, Democrats have had to distance themselves from Obama’s unpopular policies and standing with independent voters.
They’ve also attempted to use Gov. Mike Beebe’s immense popularity and his legislative achievements to their advantage. But Talk Business-Hendrix College polling shows that Beebe’s coattails might be short. Only 29% said the Governor’s endorsement would positively influence their vote for a legislative candidate.
Still, Beebe’s fundraising, influence and investment in Democratic Party resources have given the Democrats a fighting chance.
On this week’s edition of Talk Business, GOP strategist Clint Reed of Impact Management Group and Democratic strategist Robert McLarty of The Markham Group broke down their candidates’ and their parties’ strategies of attack and defense. You can watch the video below.