How serious is U.S. Rep. John Boozman about considering a race for U.S. Senate? Serious enough that he had a staff member call me this afternoon to say that I was right in the first place yesterday morning to report that fact. Communications from the Boozman camp to Arkansas Times are just about as frequent as chatty calls from The Huckster.
Note that Sen. Gilbert Baker says he's running for Senate, regardless, despite speculation that he might jump to Second District in the event of a Boozman entry. He could be expected to say that at this point. He's announced, he's raising money, Boozman's entry is hypothetical.
Here's the question of the hour: Who pushed the normally cautious, plodding, risk-averse Boozman to suddenly get interested in U.S. Senate when, as late as Thursday morning, members of his staff were telling other Republicans there was no truth to the rumors?
Is there a moneybags, or more than one, in NW Arkansas unhappy with the state of the nine-man GOP field who thinks Boozman could clear away the chaff? It smacks of Jim Lindsey football-coach picking. He needs a candidate, since his, Stanley Reed, dropped out. But that's just rank speculation.
Boozman is rumored to have lobbied Sen. Kim Hendren to drop out of the race today. I think Hendren marches to his own drummer. And blood might be thicker than water in such a decision, given some past history.
Boozman is not scintillating, but his position as incumbent from the vote-rich Third District makes him a formidable Republican primary candidate. But there's still the Jim Holt factor and the Tea Party factor. Some of the 'baggers really do think Boozman is a liberal. Swear. May madness, let's call it.