The Marco Rubio for President campaign announced its Arkansas Leadership Team consisting of 28 state legislators in a press conference at the Capitol Tuesday.
The group’s state chairman, Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, was joined by the following legislators: Senate President Jonathan Dismang, R-Beebe; Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren, R-Sulphur Springs; Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View; Sen. Greg Standridge, R-Russellville; Sen. John Cooper, R-Jonesboro; Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, R-Little Rock; House Majority Leader Ken Bragg, R-Sheridan; House Majority Whip Jim Dotson, R-Bentonville; Rep. Justin Boyd, R-Fort Smith; Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville; Rep. Jana Della Rosa, R-Rogers; Rep. Lanny Fite, R-Benton; Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle; Rep. Laurie Rushing, R-Hot Springs; Rep. DeAnn Vaught, R-Horatio; Rep. Micah Neal, R-Springdale; Rep. Prissy Hickerson, R-Texarkana; Rep. Ken Henderson, R-Russellville; Rep. Nate Bell, I-Mena; Rep. Dan Douglas, R-Bentonville; Rep. Mickey Gates, R-Hot Springs; Rep. Charlene Fite, R-Van Buren; Rep. Karilyn Brown, R-Sherwood; Rep. David Meeks, R-Conway; Rep. Andy Davis, R-Little Rock; Rep. Grant Hodges, R-Rogers; and Rep. Gary Deffenbaugh, R-Van Buren.
Fite, Rushing, Hickerson, Gates and Brown previously supported former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has dropped out of the GOP primary.
In the press conference, asked if Rubio would visit Arkansas before the March 1 primary, Hester said, “We all know that we’re 14 days from the election. I think we can expect him very soon. … I’m very confident that he’s going to visit Arkansas.”
Rubio previously was endorsed by Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, and U.S. Reps. Steve Womack and Rick Crawford.
Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign has been endorsed by four legislators: Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Hindsville, who is the state co-chairman; Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway; Rep. Dan Sullivan, R-Jonesboro; and Sen. Linda Collins-Smith, R-Pocahontas; and Secretary of State Mark Martin. Ballinger said the Cruz campaign later will announce new leadership team that will include additional legislators.
Rubio has a chance to do well in Arkansas but Cruz could win the primary in Arkansas, according to a Talk Business & Politics poll conducted earlier this month.
The poll asked this question: A number of Republican candidates are on the ballot for U.S. President in Arkansas. If the election were today, for which of the following would you vote: Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Gov. Chris Christie, and Carly Fiorina?
The top five responses were:
27% Ted Cruz
23% (tie) Marco Rubio
23% (tie) Donald Trump
11% Ben Carson
6% don’t know
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who did well in New Hampshire, only captured 4% of interest in the Arkansas poll.
On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received 57% of support from respondents in the Talk Business & Politics poll, with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., receiving 25%.
The Talk Business & Politics poll surveyed 908 likely primary voters – 451 Democrats and 457 Republicans – for the statewide results. The polling was conducted on Thursday, Feb. 4 using IVR technology and has a margin of error of +/-3.3%.
Polling for the Feb. 20 GOP primary in South Carolina – the next big battleground in the presidential race – has Donald Trump still doing well (35%) and Cruz and Rubio tied for second (18% each) in a Public Policy Polling survey conducted Feb. 14-15. Kasich captured 10% in that poll, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Ben Carson at 7%.
The Democratic Primary in South Carolina is Feb. 27. Various polls show Clinton leading Sanders by between 24 points and 18 points, with the more recent polls showing a narrowing of the lead Clinton has over Sanders.