by Max Brantley
It's a year until filing for the 2010 primary election, but here's a race where candidates have already announced: The Democratic primary for state Senate District 34, held by term-limited Sen. Tracy Steele.
Both Hendrix College prof Jay Barth and former state Rep. Linda Pondexter Chesterfield have announced. Chesterfield, a former Arkansas Education Association president, announced at an AEA auditorium news conference yesterday publicized by a news release from the Pulaski County School District's teachers union. Barth's official announcement is next week.
Lots of interesting elements to watch -- race (Barth is white, Chesterfield black; the district is probably majority black, but only barely so, and includes a growing Hispanic population); geography (it spans parts of LR and NLR and southern Pulaski County and the NLR portion includes the House district currently represented by the only Green Party legislator); electoral politics (what will turnout be in a non-presidential year in which there's not likely to be a marquee primary battle for a major office); and more. Others may yet announce. Rep. Darrin Williams has been mentioned as a potential candidate.