Former President Bill Clinton will speak at the Democratic Party of Arkansas’ 35th Annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner July 15 at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock.
The DPA made the announcement June 9 two days after Hillary Clinton clinched the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. The Democratic National Convention will be July 25-28 in Philadelphia.
The party also announced that Clinton will attend the first DPA Finance Council Democratic Governors Reception preceding the dinner. Also attending will be former Govs. Mike Beebe, Jim Guy Tucker and David Pryor.
On Tuesday, DPA spokesman H.L. Moody said Arkansas Democrats don’t expect a lot of national attention, and he doesn’t foresee a coordinated campaign occurring between the Clinton campaign and the state and national parties.
The visit by Bill Clinton could indicate an interest in competing for Arkansas’ six electoral votes – or it could be another visit from one of the state’s favorite sons. Clinton spoke in Little Rock May 15 at the graduation ceremonies for the Clinton School of Public Service.
While the state’s former first lady won 66% of the vote in the Democratic primary March 1, the party hasn’t won Arkansas’ six electoral votes since Bill Clinton ran for re-election as president in 1996. Democrats’ percentage of the vote has declined each cycle.
The DPA has announced that the party will rename the event next year so that it is not named for Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, both of whom owned slaves. The party’s news release refers to the event as the “JJ Dinner.”