Scott Ellington (AR-01)-Scott Ellington is running in the first district against vulnerable Republican Rick Crawford. A former teacher and prosecutor, Scott is a real Democrat (as opposed to his primary opponent, Blue Dog Clark Hall), who stands up for equality for women, protecting Medicare and Social Security, and making the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share of taxes. He’s also the strongest candidate Democrats could put up against Crawford. We have a real shot to take back this seat, and better yet we can do it with real Democrat Scott Ellington!
Ken Aden (AR-03)-Ken Aden is running in the toughest district for Democrats in Arkansas, but his aggressive and energetic campaign (and his stellar candidacy) are turning heads. Aden, a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq and a former community organizer who’s nonprofit work was done fighting poverty in some of the poorest places in Arkansas, is a true blue Democrat running a campaign that puts people before big corporations and is showing other Democrats what it means to have a spine. No Democrat has brought this kind of excitement to the third district since Bill Clinton ran in 1974, and even though he lost we all know what kind of doors that race opened for him. Following his campaign being rocked by scandal, having claimed military awards and a status as a green beret that wasn’t his, Ken withdrew from the race. Here at Blue Arkansas, we called for Ken to leave the race after the scandal broke and held him to the same standard we would any other candidate.
Joyce Elliott (SD-31)-Joyce Elliott has been a progressive leader in the Arkansas legislature. Now she’s facing a pointless primary challenge from Rep. Fred Allen. On every issue that matters to progressives, Joyce has been a bold voice, never backing down from a tough fight and never forgetting the people she works for. So join us and help send Joyce Elliott back to the Senate for four more years! Elliott crushed her primary opponent, Fred Allen, in the Democratic primary!
Steve Harrelson (SD-11)-Republicans have targeted Steve Harrelson, one of the most effective and progressive minded Democratic state legislators in the state senate. If Republicans gain the state legislature in 2012, kiss good government goodbye, especially if we lose good Democrats like Harrelson in the process. First though, Steve has to fend off a primary challenge from another Democrat yet to make a case for why Steve should be retired. We can’t afford to lose this seat or this superb legislator, so it’s time for Democrats across the state to stand up and help Steve out. Steve fended off his primary challenger and is now set to face a tough Republican challenger in November.
Diana Gonzales Worthen (SD-07)-Diana Gonzales Worthen is running an aggressive underdog campaign in SD-07, centered around Springdale. Diana is an amazing and dedicated grassroots candidate, an educator and small businesswoman, who is pro-ethics reform, pro-ERA, and will represent the people of her district rather than big corporations. She has a tough fight on her hands, but after a divisive Republican primary and with a 40% Latino district we have a chance to elect the first Latina to ever serve in the Arkansas Senate.
Zac White (SD-18)-Zac White is a reform minded Democrat leading the way in making the Democratic Party the party of ethics by making the ethics reform initiatives championed by Regnat Populus one of the leading planks of his platform, along with economic development and protecting essential sources of jobs and revenue in his district. What’s more, he’s got a good chance of taking out ALEC’s favorite state senator, Missy Irvin, who rather than thinking about the needs of her constituents is always looking for the next big corporate campaign contribution. Zac has a real shot of winning this race, and if he’s elected he’s pledged to introduce an ethics reform package in the legislature, making getting him elected worth the hard fight in this tossup race.
Linda Tyler (SD-35)-Linda Tyler has stepped up to run for the seat long held by Gilbert Baker, and in doing so she is locked in a tight race against Jason Rapert, the most extreme Republican in the state senate. Linda is a pragmatic leader who cares about her constituents and puts them first; Rapert is an extremist who never met a bit of anti-consumer, anti-worker, or anti-environment legislation that he didn’t like. Winning this seat will give Democrats two reasons to cheer-we’ll be rid of Rapert and we will have picked up a state senate seat in the process.
Warwick Sabin (HD-33)-Warwick is running for the seat currently held by term limited Representative Kathy Webb, and while no one can ever really fill Kathy’s shoes Warwick will still be a representative in her mold-a staunch progressive with the cleverness and pragmatism needed to guide the legislature forward. Warwick’s progressive credentials reach back to when he was student body president and UofA and pushed the recognition of the MLK holiday by the entire UofA system. In the legislature, he will continue Kathy Webb’s good work of standing up for the environment, jobs, and other progressive ideals. Warwick cruised to victory in the Democratic primary and will not face any Republican opposition in November.
Phynaus Wilson (HD-37)-Phynaus Wilson is running for the seat currently held by retiring Representative Tracey Steele. Phynaus learned politics and policy working in Vic Snyder’s office and inherited Snyder’s progressive values and instincts. An advocate of criminal justice reform and the first male candidate to sign the ERA pledge, Phynaus will bring a much needed progressive voice to the ever conservative Arkansas House for both his constituents and for Arkansans all across the state. Sadly, Phynaus lost his race in the Democratic primary.
David Whitaker (HD-85)-Progressive Democrat David Whitaker is our endorsed candidate in HD-85, a seat we’ll have to play defense on to keep Republicans from gaining the House. Whitaker is a true blue Democrat who has found his stride in this race and who will champion progressive causes in Little Rock like the ERA. Holding the Arkansas House is important to advancing progressive causes, so we’ve got to make sure that we have great Democratic candidates like David and that they are elected in November. Whitaker won his primary race and is now the Democratic candidate for the general election.
Harold Copenhaver (HD-58)-Harold “Cope” Copenhaver is the man stepping up to rid the legislature of the odious Jon Hubbard. Hubbard and Copenhaver are a study in contrasts. Hubbard is an unlikeable and angry extremist with a far right agenda that does little to advance the needs of the city he represents. Copenhaver is friendly, practical, and focused primarily on what’s best for Jonesboro. In the legislature, he won’t pick fights, or vote against funding the schools for the blind and deaf or pull any of the other shenanigans that Hubbard has. The people of HD-58 have a choice between a steady hand to guide Jonesboro’s growth and a state legislator who embarrasses the community every time he opens his mouth to yell at someone. It’s a simple choice, and we’re hoping that the people of Jonesboro make the right one and vote Cope!
David Kizzia (HD-26)-David Kizzia is the man who has stepped up to defeat Loy Mauch, the former member of the secessionist League of the South who’s election embarrassed the entire state of Arkansas in 2010. In the legislature, Loy has been Secure Arkansas’s go to guy for crazy stuff, but has otherwise been a do nothing. David Kizzia will be a better representative for his constituents and a better Democrat for the whole state of Arkansas.
Arkansas State House
Jerry Rephan (District 24)-Jerry Rephan is running as a true blue Democrat, working to turn the tide in Garland County where the Tea Party swept nearly every office in 2010. If Jerry wins, Democrats will have proof that we can win in Arkansas by running on our values rather than away from them. The special election is March 8th. Sadly, Jerry lost the election to Republican Bruce Cozart.
Hudson Hallum (District 54)-Hudson Hallum is running in District 54 to give a district that badly needs a good, honest representative just that. Hudson puts his life on the line for the people of district 54 as a fire fighter and saves lives both in that capacity and as a paramedic. He has given back to his community time and time again, and is stepping up to provide representation to a district who’s last representative embarrassed both its residents and Arkansas Democrats everywhere. Hudson won the special election for this seat! Congratulations to Representative Elect Hallum!
Bill Halter has stepped up to challenge Blanche Lincoln in response to a massive draft effort that involved people all across Arkansas and around the country. Bill has gotten real results for Arkansans and is a proud Arkansas Democrat. In the past, he has stood up to make sure everyone has access to a college education, opposed anti-gay bigotry, and while the U.S. Senate was debating and Blanche Lincoln was threatening to fillibuster, Bill was looking out for Arkansans in need of health care by bringing a free clinic to Little Rock. On vote after vote, his opponent in the primary has made it clear she doesn’t care about the interests of Arkansans. The Republicans running for the seat are even worse. Bill Halter is providing Arkansas with a real choice, and Blue Arkansas is proud to stand with him. Sadly, Bill Halter narrowly lost in his challenge to Blanche Lincoln. Thanks for running such a great race Bill, you have no idea how much it meant to all of us or how many people you inspired in the process.
Chad Causey (AR-01)-Blue Arkansas’ preferred candidate, State Representative David Cook, placed third in the primary, so Blue Arkansas is now moving to support the best candidate remaining in the race, Chad Causey. Chad is a fairly conservative Democrat and we’ve had some complaints about him in the past, but we have long thought that he showed some promise as well as problems. As such, we are voting our hopes and not our fears and backing him in the AR-01 primary against the incredibly right wing Tim Wooldridge. We think Chad has the potential to grow into a good representative for AR-01, and in every category is far preferrable to his opponent. For those reasons, check out his website and cast your vote for him in the AR-01 Democratic runoff. Chad Causey won the nomination of the Democratic Party and is now the candidate in the general election!
State Senator Joyce Elliott (AR-02)-State Senator Joyce Elliott has been a progressive leader and champion in the state legislature long before Blue Arkansas was ever around to back her up. Now she’s running to represent the people of AR-02 in Congress. No matter what position she has taken or how hard the fight was, Senator Elliott has always lead with courage, intelligence, grace, and character. She is the best choice to succeed Vic Snyder and represent AR-02 in these tough times, and we will stand with her every step of the way, no matter how tough the fight is. To help Senator Elliott make history, check out her website. Senator Elliott won her primary and is now the Democratic nominee to succeed Vic Snyder.
David Whitaker (AR-03)-David Whitaker is a progressive Democrat running in the state’s toughest district. David has long been an advocate in the Democratic party, especially on veterans issues, and now he’s running to be the first Democratic congressman from the third district since the 1960s. With a divisive Republican primary and changing demographics, the third has the potential for a major upset, especially if Whitaker continues to run a strong, aggressive campaign. We’re pulling for him every step of the way and will be by his side, no matter what the odds. Visit his website here.
Arkansas Constitutional Officers
Pat O’Brien (Secretary of State)-As Pulaski County Clerk, Pat O’Brien brought reform to an office that badly needed it. At the state level, the Secretary of State’s office is itself in need of serious reform. For that reason, Blue Arkansas endorses Pat O’Brien, a smart and talented reformer promising to bring the Secretary of State’s office into the 21st century. Visit his website here. Pat O’Brien won the Democratic Primary and now has a real mandate for reform propelling him to the Secretary of State’s office.
L.J. Bryant (Land Commissioner)-L.J. Bryant is turning heads in his run for Land Commissioner and for good reason. L.J. has a clear vision for the office and for using modern technology and fresh thinking to improve the lives of Arkansans and guarantee good government. The Land Commissioner’s office, like so many in Arkansas, is in desperate need of new blood after decades of good ol’ boy mismanagement, and L.J. will provide that needed change. What’s more, L.J. will be part of a growing progressive farm team in Arkansas that will strengthen the hand of the Democratic party for future races. For those reasons, check out L.J.’s website and cast your vote for him. L.J. Bryant won the Democratic primary and is now the party’s nominee for Land Commissioner.
Arkansas State Senate
Jay Barth (District 34)-The Arkansas Legislature needs leadership, knowledge, courage, and progressive vision. Jay Barth has all those qualities, and will bring them to the Arkansas State Senate at a much needed time if he’s elected from the 34th district. Jay is a great progressive Democrat, and his work as a professor at Hendrix and with politicians ranging from then governor Bill Clinton to the sainted Paul Wellstone has given him an extroardinary depth of understanding of issues important to Arkansans. Jay’s not afraid to stand up for what he believes is right either. Time and time again he’s led the charge on progressive issues and against right wing public policy like the bigoted Initiated Act One in 2008. Electing Jay Barth to the Arkansas Senate will bring a much needed knowledgable and determined progressive voice to our state politics, and will make history by electing the first openly gay man to the state legislature. You can learn more about Jay and help him get elected by visiting his website. Sadly, Jay lost his bid to represent District 34 in the state senate. His opponent, Linda Poindexter Chesterfield, stooped to new lows in gay baiting and race baiting to defeat him, depriving the people of District 34 of an excellent progressive voice.
Senator Robert Thompson (District 11)- Senator Robert Thompson is a rising star in the Arkansas Democratic Party and one of the best state legislators there is. A former prosecutor and the father of three adorable kids, Senator Thompson brings a passion for public service and a thoughtful pragmatism to the state legislature, and everyone who meets him walks away impressed with his candor, intelligence, and persistence. As a state senator, Senator Thompson has been an advocate for drug courts as a way to combat drug addiction while addressing the problem of our overcrowded prisons. He’s been an advocate of biofuels to reduce dependence on foreign oil, fight global warming, and benefit Arkansas’ farmers. He’s also an advocate of open government and universal health care. If you want to support such a terrific candidate in his bid for reelection, check out his website. Senator Thompson is not facing opposition for reelection and is therefor a sure bet to retain his seat.
Representative Sandra Prater (District 29)- Sandra fights for us. A registered nurse, she’s devoted her life to helping people in need, and she’ll stand up for ordinary people against the special interests in the state senate as she steps up to succeed retiring Senator John Paul Capps.
Arkansas State House
Greg Leding (District 92)-Greg Leding is giving us a clear choice in the May 18th Democratic primary. He’s a true progressive, and isn’t running away from that label as he takes on a more conservative opponent in a district that could (and should) readily elect progressive representation. In fact, Greg isn’t just accepting the progressive label, he’s openly campaigning with it, and at Blue Arkansas that’s exactly what we like to see. If elected, Greg Leding will be taking a progressive voice to a legislative body that badly needs it. To help him do so, visit his website. Greg Leding won the Democratic nomination for District 92 on May 18th! There is no Republican opponent, so he will be headed to Little Rock next year!
Represenative Richard Carroll (District 39)-State Representative Richard Carroll has earned reelection. He has stood up for both health care and the Employee Free Choice Act in Arkansas and backed progressive candidates for higher office. If he continues to serve in the state legislature, he will be one of our best sources of progressive legislation and a progressive vote. As such, we are happy to endorse Representative Carroll in the Democratic primary. Representative Carroll lost his reelection bid to Tracy Steele on May 18th.
Representative Barbara Nix (District 28)- State Representative Barbara Nix is an extroardinary progressive who won her first election in tough territory. A teacher by profession, Representative Nix has stood up every day in the state legislature for working men and women and for those in need. Just in her first term, her efforts to protect railroad workers, fight drunk driving, and her commitment to ending hunger in Arkansas have earned her praise from around the state. Representative Nix is the kind of public servant we need to keep in the House. Visit her website here.
Debbie Murphy (District 31)- Debbie Murphy is an incredible and dynamic woman. A mom and former businesswoman who worked her way through college, she went on to serve her community in a variety of ways, from helping the Humane Shelter to serving on the school board. Now she is offering her community a real choice between herself and ultra conservative newspaper columnist David Sanders. Debbie is a Democrat that isn’t afraid to stand up and doesn’t shy away from hard work. She’s an amazing candidate and will make an equally amazing representative. Visit her website here.
Representative Joan Cash (District 75)-Joan Cash is a tough as nails progressive Democrat in a tough race against one of the craziest teabagger candidates in the state. While her opponent rails on Sharia Law and other such nonsense, Joan has been an advocate for small businesses, farmers, and working people, a forward thinking protector of our environment, and someone who’s not afraid to take a stand for the civil rights and liberties of others. Joan will stick her neck out and fight for what’s right even if it could cost her politically. So let’s stand with her and show that we’ll glady reward progressives that do the right thing, especially those that stand up when it’s most risky.
Ken Bridges (District 6)-Ken Bridges could well be a rising star in the Democratic Party. From Union County, Bridges takes a populist, never back down approach that Democrats are going to need in order to win in the future. Getting him elected now could be a great asset to Democrats down the road when we need a fresh face for a higher office.
To apply for or recommend a candidate for endorsement, email ARDem at david-mcavoy (at) hotmail.com.