For the first time in recent history, Arkansas Republicans – with 132 candidates – saw 150 percent more state candidates file for office than the Democrats who had 88 candidates file.

Not only did Republicans win with the number of candidates, the filing fees could help boost the GOP’s advantage.

Republicans took in a total of $683,000 compared to Democrats total of $345,000 or approximately half the amount Republicans collected.  This was in part due to the number of candidates and in part due to the higher fees assessed by Republicans for most offices. While both parties set filing fees for state representatives, Republicans’ fees are higher for all other offices.

For U.S. Senate, both parties only had one candidate, but Sen. Mark Pryor’s campaign paid $12,000 compared to $20,000 paid by Cotton for Senate.  Democrats fielded only 3 candidates for Congress at $10,000 each for $30,000 in total, while Republicans had 7 candidates file at $15,000 each for $105,000 total.

On the statewide constitutional officer level, Democrats collected $63,000 from 8 candidates, while Republicans took in $147,500 from 14 candidates.  Republicans had 18 State Senate candidates file at $7,500 each for $135,000, while Democrats had 8 candidates at $4,500 each for $36,000 total.  In the state House of Representatives, both parties set fees at $3,000, but Republicans had 92 candidates file for $276,000, while Democrats had 68 candidates file for $204,000 total.

Republicans were also given an edge by new legislation that made prosecutors a non-partisan office.  In the past, Democrats had fielded more prosecutorial candidates than Republicans, which helped them take in more filing fees.  2014 is the first year that candidates for this office did not file with a party.

Of course, this is just one aspect of the funding race for the state parties.  We will know more when the two parties file quarterly reports later in April.  In addition, outside groups are poised to send millions on both sides of the aisle this election cycle, particularly in the hotly-constested U.S. Senate race where just this week Americans for Prosperity released another ad hitting Pryor.  Meanwhile, American Majority PAC – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s PAC - put out an ad hitting Cotton.

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Jason Tolbert is the moderator for his opinion blog, The Tolbert Report. He can be reached by e-mail at Jason@TolbertReport.com. Follow him on Twitter: @TolbertReport.

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