Truth be told, most Arkansans are probably more concerned with who will coach the Razorbacks football team after this season than who will be next senator and governor. But for political junkies, 2014 is looking very interesting.
This week, Tom Cotton, a solid conservative, won the GOP primary, and should easily win the 4CD race this November. Arkansas will thus have an all GOP congression delegation. No great surprise, the state hase been trending Red ever since the Clintons left.
What is unusal is that it’s an all-rookie delegation. All three were elected in 2010. Rick Crawford (1CD) and Tim Griffin (2CD) flipped districts long held by Dems. Steve Womack (3CD) won the district long represented by John Boozman, who defeated Blanche Lincoln for her Senate seat.
Mike Beebe (D) is the current governor. He’s popular in the state, but is term-limited. Mark Pryor is the current senator. He won last time out with 80% of the vote. The GOP didn’t even field a candidate..his only opposition was from the Green Party. Pryor too is popular in the state, and the family name is well known.
However, it’s more than likely that Pryor will retire. After this November, he will be in the minority in the Senate, and in a Democrat caucus that will be far more radical than it is now…and Pryor’s Dem senate class faces hard prospects in 2o14. Expect lots more retirements, and the probability that the GOP has a filibuster proof majority.
Pryor might well win relection in 2014, but it would be very difficult, and very expensive..( and remember, his first two races were virtual walkovers) So why should he bother,..all that effort, and expense, just to win a seat where he’ll be a member of a bitter, ideologically driven Dem minority? Nope, he retires. Indeed, I look for him to make an early announcement..to allow possible candidates to start positioning themselves.
Could Beebe decide to run for the Senate seat? In theory he could, but why? If Pryor decided that the race wasn’t worth it, even it was winnable, the Beebe will have less a chance. Nope, Beebe retires also.
So now we’ll have two plum openings, the governor’s mansion and the senate, where the GOP nomination will all but assure victory.
And we’ll have four likely candidates, all looking to establish and promote their conservative bona fides. There could be others interested in running, but it’s more likely that they’d focus on winning the nomination for the two newly soon-to-be-vacated congressional districts. Beth Anne Rankin, for one, can win the 4th CD next time out.
Razorback RED, and all-RED state…go Hawgs!!!