Notes from the Campaign Trail: Governor appears in new French Hill TV ad

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 729 views 

The 2nd Congressional District race between U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, and State Sen. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock, continues to offer the most fireworks and intrigue.

A Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College Poll released two weeks ago showed the race was 47.5%-46% in favor of Hill, the incumbent GOP Congressman. That same poll showed Gov. Asa Hutchinson with a 70% job approval rating among 2nd Congressional District voters, so it comes as no surprise that the popular Republican governor appears in a new TV ad in support of Hill.

The ad, which you can watch below, features Hutchinson complimenting Hill’s assistance in securing federal coronavirus funding for Arkansas. Hutchinson also notes that he served in Congress previously and “knows what it takes to fight for Arkansas in a broken Washington.” In the ad, Hutchinson also says Hill’s work helped “save lives and jobs.”

Gov. Hutchinson has had consistent strong marks for his handling of COVID-19 in public opinion polls, so his endorsement on this issue could prove valuable in improving Hill’s standing with voters. Hill has appeared in several press conferences with Hutchinson when he provided a daily coronavirus briefing.

Elliott campaign spokesperson Neil Goodman responded to the ad, saying, “Governor Hutchinson has signed 75 of Joyce Elliott’s bills into law — including crucial state COVID-19 funding — while Congressman Hill profits from COVID-19 relief and voted to keep the federal bailout secret.”

In other news from the race, Elliott will appear in a forum on Tuesday night sponsored by the Urban League of Arkansas. Hill declined to participate, according to Urban League of Arkansas CEO Scott Hamilton. Hill also recently declined a KATV-Talk Business & Politics debate in October.

The race between Hill and Elliott ramped up another notch last week when Hill’s campaign pushed Facebook ads and a targeted direct mail campaign calling Elliott “too liberal, too radical and too divisive” to be elected. The hard-hitting messaging is a clear signal of Hill’s effort to raise Elliott’s negatives among voters.

There have been endorsements rolling out for Elliott in recent days. She was backed by End Citizens United and Let America Vote. The two national groups merged recently to fight “Big Money and voter suppression,” according to a press release from the organizations. There is national news reporting that GOP and Democratic groups are gearing up to spend more than $800,000 combined in the district due to the race’s competitiveness.

All of these factors explain why the national political handicapping site, The Cook Political Report, has moved the 2nd Congressional District race from “Likely R” to “Lean R.”

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who is facing Libertarian Ricky Harrington this fall, rolled out his first TV ad of the general election on Arkansas airwaves.

The ad touts Cotton’s work for veterans and features several Washington D.C. monuments in the background including the Battle of Iwo Jima monument where Cotton delivers his remarks. You can watch the ad below.

Cotton is expected to roll out a second ad before Election Day centered on prescription drug prices. It’s part of a strong six-figure ad buy.

Cotton’s opponent, Harrington, appeared on Talk Business & Politics this past week.

Cotton also pens an op-ed for Talk Business & Politics with his support for Issue 3, a state legislative referred proposed constitutional amendment that changes the requirements for getting citizen-led initiatives on the ballot. You can read Cotton’s commentary here.

David Couch, the Arkansas attorney who has been successful with many ballot initiatives – including medical marijuana and raising the minimum wage – writes a guest post in opposition to the changes proposed in Issue 3. Read Couch’s commentary at this link.

With the first Presidential debate tonight between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, Talk Business & Politics will offer some instant analysis shortly after the debate concludes.

Dr. Jay Barth and Robert Coon, who help lead Talk Business & Politics polling efforts, will join TB&P Editor-in-Chief Roby Brock for an online conversation with observations and analysis of the evening. Look for it on our web site,, before bedtime.