Lots of news from the first district race today.
First off, Clark Hall may be running farther to the right than any other “Democrat” save D.C. Morrison. According to Open Secrets, Hall has taken a contribution from AmeriPAC, a right wing PAC that says on its website:
America can’t afford four more years of Barack Obama. That’s why AmeriPAC is building a massive war chest to defeat Obama in the 2012 elections and support the conservative presidential candidate. Voters in 8 key swings states need to hear that the right candidate for president is anyone but Obama. To get an idea how bad this is, check out the list of folks AmeriPAC has contributed to in the past. It’s a pretty gut churning rogue’s gallery, one that includes the likes of Newt Gingrich. Personally, I don’t want a Congressman, Democrat or otherwise, that has ANYTHING in common with Newt Gingrich…Between this and his ties to Marvell Academy, which Hall still won’t explain, I think it’s safe to say he can kiss the African American vote and that of hardcore Democrats in the base goodbye. Turns out there are two AmeriPACs. Hall has the endorsement of the one headed by Minority Leader Steny Hoyer. My bad. Can we add this bit of redundancy and confusion to the long list of reasons we need real campaign finance reform? Glad I caught this screw up in like fifteen minutes though.
That said, I have better news from the Gary Latanich campaign. Today, Latanich sent out a press release to announce his campaign had landed the endorsement of the Painter’s Union:
“Families that work for a living need someone who is going to put jobs first. They want a leader with job creating know-how, not another career politician who is “all hat and no cattle”” says Lindsey Brown, business representative for the International Union of Painters & Allied Trades District Council 80,who presented Gary Latanich with the endorsement. “Endorsing Gary Latanich, was easy. He gets the needs of working families in Arkansas, he has a track record of working with business, and communities to craft good paying jobs and he’s willing to fight to invest in technical training and programs to make Arkansas more competitive nationally and internationally. You can’t say that about Clark Hall and after the mess in Congress, you can’t say that about Rep. Rick Crawford”
Like I said yesterday, Latanich is proving to be a stronger candidate than expected. In terms of readiness for running, he’s come farther than any other candidate in a shorter amount of time. By the time May 22nd roles around everyone’s going to be looking at him as a major contender.
Finally, news came to me from a very reliable source that Scott Ellington will be filing his paperwork to run for Congress on Thursday. Ellington will have a lot of work to do to catch up to both Hall and Latanich, and it’s hard to say exactly how big an impact he’ll have on the race. Conventional wisdom says that being from Jonesboro his entry will most hurt Latanich, though if Latanich is gaining labor endorsements it’s a clear sign he’s expanding his base. At the same time though, it would easily destroy the mantle of inevitability Clark Hall has been attempting to grasp and I could easily see the two of them getting into a brawl that would work to Latanich’s favor. Two things are for sure though. First, this three way race will be anyone’s to win. Second, [almost] everything in this post is nothing but bad news for Clark Hall.
Update: Not long after I posted this, Arkansas Blog confirmed that Scott Ellington is jumping in with former DPA Executive Director Mariah Hattah as his campaign manager.