The Arkansas Election Line: 2nd District race ‘Safe Griffin’
Editor’s note: Three closely watched political journalists based in Little Rock have joined to form The Arkansas Election Line — an ongoing assessment of key political races in Arkansas. Roby Brock (TalkBusiness.net), Matt Campbell (Blue Hog Report) and Jason Tolbert (tolbertreport.com) will frequently analyze a race and issue a statement based on where they think the race “leans.” Their assessment is similar to those typically issued by media outlets that focus on Washington D.C. politics.
The Arkansas Election Line makes its first ratings change of the general election by moving the 2nd Congressional District race from “Leans Griffin” to “Safe Griffin.”
There are a number of factors behind this ratings change between Republican Tim Griffin, Democrat Joyce Elliott, Independent Lance Levi and Green Party nominee Lewis Kennedy, according to this report from content partner Talk Business. Notably, Griffin enjoys a safe lead in the polls and a safer lead in the fundraising category but it may be factors far beyond any candidates’ control that is helping the Republican in this race.
With less than 60 days to go, the overall voting climate in Arkansas remains favorable for the GOP in federal races. National political winds have produced momentum for many GOP candidates as the economy still struggles and Democratic initiatives have yet to elicit enthusiasm from a majority of voters.
Short of a major momentum shift for Elliott or Democrats as a whole, this seat is an increasingly safe GOP pick-up. The National Republican Congressional Committee’s decision to not make the 2nd Congressional District a major battleground is a tell-tale sign of its confidence in the outcome and we’ve yet to hear the national Democrats suggest a different result.
The Arkansas Election Line previously rated the 3rd Congressional District race between Republican Steve Womack and Democrat David Whitaker as “Safe Womack.”
“The 3rd District has not been very competitive for Democrats since the 1992 general election in which Democrat John Van Winkle lost to Republican Tim Hutchinson by about 5,000 votes. Since then, as the population base has grown and the district has narrowed, the 3rd District has bent more and more conservative,” noted the Arkansas Election Line.
Also, the 4th Congressional District race between U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, D-Prescott, and Republican Beth Anne Ranking was previously given a “Safe Ross” rating. The Arkansas Election Line noted: “His opponent, long-time politico and former Miss Arkansas Beth Anne Rankin, will meet the minimum threshold for traditional Republican opponents in this race. She’ll be badly outmatched on the fundraising front, but she’s a fine public speaker who will inspire her party faithful. Barring big mistakes by Ross combined with an even larger anti-incumbent sentiment, Ross cruises to victory in November.”