The results are in from last night’s run off and the field is now set for November.
In AR-01, our endorsed candidate, Scott Ellington, faced a much closer than expected race against Blue Dog Clark Hall. The race was insanely low turn out, and that ended up working in Hall’s favor, but Ellington was still able to pull it off.
Down in AR-04, the bizarre campaign of Gene Jeffress cruised over the well funded Q. Byrum Hurst, winning with over 60 percent of the vote. I suspect this is Hurst’s last run for major office, as he has now lost a Democratic primary for state senate, a Democratic caucus for the state house, and now a Democratic primary for Congress where he had every advantage. I would suggest that we not look for Hurst to run for anything higher than Hot Springs City Council with this track record…
In the first, we ought to be giving ourselves a big slap on the back as we succeeding in making sure that we not only got the most progressive option elected but the more electable one as well. Ellington makes the northern part of the first district, the part that swings back and forth, competitive. We need that if we’re going to win this. He still needs to make some changes to his campaign though. He’s going to have to start raising more money-you cannot win a modern race without spending at least five to six hours a day on the phone raising money. It’s the sad reality. He also needs to think about shaking up his team and getting some folks who know how to run a get out the vote operation. Scott has come as far as he has because Scott himself is a great candidate. This campaign has been nothing to praise. Still, I’m feeling good about our chances with this one. Crawford is weak, and this is now our best chance for a win among the four districts.
I’m way more worried about the 4th. Jeffress won this because he knows the district like the back of his hand and he worked his tail off the old fashioned way. That’s admirable. Very admirable. But he better pick up his phone and start raising money, and get a real campaign operation going. The rules for the general will not be the same as they were for the primary. He was outspent 10 to 1 by Hurst. He will be outspent 100 to 1 by Cotton if he does not find a way to raise several hundred thousand dollars very quickly. A lot of people are writing this off. If Jeffress doesn’t change the way he’s doing things immediately, they will have every reason to.