Hendrix College, a frequent pollster in Arkansas political campaigns, released their new polling data (9/4-9; 698 AR-2 likely voters; live interview) and finds three-term Representative French Hill (R-Little Rock) holding only a 48-46% edge over state Sen. Joyce Elliott (D-Little Rock) in the state’s 2nd Congressional District. The same polling sample finds Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with a surprising 49-45% lead over President Trump in a district that the latter man carried 52-43% in 2016.
Three states had approved ballot referendums to change their primary system to the unique “Top Four” system that would allow the first four finishing candidates in a jungle primary advance into the general election. The four candidates would then be ranked 1-4 in the general in order to determine a winner.
It now appears that only one state, Alaska, will have the referendum on the ballot. Judges in North Dakota and Arkansas have nullified their respective election referendums because of qualification process technical flaws. Therefore, the primary system in these two latter states will remain constant for at least another election cycle.
In a surprise, Hendrix College, a frequent Arkansas political pollster (2/6-7; 496 AR likely Democratic primary voters), finds former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg taking a slight one-point lead over former Vice President Joe Biden in the Arkansas Democratic primary. This is the first reported poll finding both Bloomberg leading in a state, and Mr. Biden dropping from his former first place position in a southern domain.
The Hendrix results project Mr. Bloomberg to hold a 20-19-16-15-9% edge over Mr. Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), respectively. Obviously, these numbers suggest that the Arkansas primary, with 31 first ballot delegates at stake, is another state where multiple candidates will earn bound delegate votes on Super Tuesday.
Eight states will host their 2020 primary elections in March, meaning they will feature a full ballot to compliment the presidential race. Voters will select a full slate of nominees in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas on March 3, 10, or 17th. This means, at the end of March, nominees could be fully chosen for six Senate races and 151 congressional districts. It is possible, should no candidate reach the minimum nomination percentage in various states featuring a qualifying figure, that run-offs could be held in some Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas contests.
All of the aforementioned states have completed their candidate filing deadlines with the exception of Mississippi. There, candidacies become official on January 10th. West Virginia and Kentucky candidates will file on January 25th and 28th, respectively for May 12th and May 19th primary elections.
As reported last week, candidate filing closed in Arkansas with Democrats seeing only one candidate return documents to challenge Sen. Tom Cotton (R). Businessman and former congressional candidate Josh Mahony (D), however, decided to withdraw from the race just hours after he filed leaving the party with no candidate.
The Democrats have the opportunity of meeting in convention to choose a nominee, but state chairman Michael John Gray yesterday said they “have no path” toward finding a replacement nominee. Therefore, Sen. Cotton will run against only a Libertarian nominee and Independent candidate, thus functionally guaranteeing his re-election to a second six-year term next year.
Fayetteville Democrat and former congressional candidate Josh Mahony is already an ex-Senate candidate. Mr. Mahony filed to challenge Sen. Tom Cotton (R) and was the only Democrat to do so. But, just hours after submitting his papers, Mr. Mahony announced he was withdrawing due to family issues. Before he exited, the Arkansas Republican Party filed an ethics complaint against Mr. Mahony, which may have played a role in his departure.
With no qualified Democratic candidate, the Arkansas Democratic Party members will convene and choose a replacement nominee. The Arkansas primary is March 3rd.
The Arkansas candidate filing deadline expired on November 11th, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as he did similarly at Alabama’s deadline, filed to enter the state’s presidential primary. This does not necessarily mean he will enter the race, but he is now eligible to qualify for a ballot position in the two states.
Several major entities have candidate filing deadlines in December, and Mr. Bloomberg’s actions surrounding these dates could give us a solid clue as to whether he will actually run. The states and their candidate filing deadlines are: Illinois, December 2; California, December 6; Texas, December 9; Ohio, December 11; and North Carolina, December 20.
Together, these states, including Alabama and Arkansas, house a combined 1,128 first ballot delegates or more than a quarter of the aggregate first ballot allotment. If he is to enter the race and make a serious run, Mr. Bloomberg will realistically have to compete in all of these primaries. Therefore, if he fails to move in December, then any last-minute effort he might initiate should not be considered serious.
As they usually do in the days preceding major elections, Hendrix College surveyed the Arkansas electorate. The only even quasi-competitive congressional campaign lies in the Little Rock anchored 2nd District. Here, state Rep. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock) is challenging two-term US Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock).
Hendrix’s survey (10/17-18; 590 AR-2 likely voters) finds Rep. Hill holding a relatively strong 52-40% lead over Mr. Tucker, which tracks with the district’s voting history. Mr. Hill won his first two elections by eight and 21 points, respectively, in 2014 and 2016.
The Talk Business & Politics group and the Hendrix College survey research arm again teamed up, as they have done before every recent election, to test the Arkansas electorate. The entities released surveys in all four of the state’s congressional districts, but the 2nd CD, anchored in Little Rock, is the only one that appears even somewhat competitive. According to the Hendrix data (9/5-7; 428 AR-2 likely voters), two-term Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock) leads state Rep. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock), by a 50-41% count. Though Mr. Hill is comfortably ahead, Mr. Tucker’s level of support does suggest this seat is worth watching as the campaigns now begin to hit full stride.
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