by Max Brantley
If money alone decided elections, why hold them? Just open bank accounts. That said, it's a rare race not decided by money. And, on that ground, Republicans would appear headed for a sweep of the four Arkansas congressional seats.
If issues, voting records or personalities mattered, however, you could make a case in the 1st, 2nd and 4th for at least a shred of hope. This is particularly true in the First given a Democratic candidate, Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington, with some name recognition and incumbent Rep. Rick Crawford's abysmal wishy-washy record, along with the Delta district's historic Democratic connections. But Crawford's 4-1 money edge will be multiplied as many times as the party and independent Republican machinery think is necessary to swamp Ellington with negative advertising.
In the 2nd and 4th, you have an incumbent, Rep. Tim Griffin, and a newly arrived D.C. insider, Tom Cotton, who've repeatedly made pronounced and specific endorsements of Republican initiatives that would wreck Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, plus comfort the wealthy. Both also are unfriendly to abortion rights and human rights (admittedly less of a negative in the 4th than in populous Pulaski County, Griffin's home). If issues and the specific interests of an Arkansas constituency mattered in election outcomes, both Democrats Herb Rule in the 2nd and Gene Jeffress in the 4th should at least give the Republicans a reason to spend their money fast and furiously.