CLARKE TUCKER: Polls reportedly favor a challenge of Republican congressman.
reported Dec. 9 on telephone polling about the race for 2nd District Congress, including questions matching incumbent Republican Rep. French Hill
of Little Rock against Democratic state Rep. Clarke Tucker
of Little Rock.
Talk has been circulating that the results might encourage Tucker's entry into the race. He has no comments on either polls
(two different surveys have been reported) or his election plans for 2018. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee,
which I believe was behind one of the surveys, is closed this week. And it probably won't comment when I can reach them, with two announced Democrats, Paul Spencer
and Gwen Combs
, already in the race.
You could guess the outline of the poll results without seeing them — support for a Democrat against Hill in Pulaski County, which he couldn't carry against an unfunded unknown two years ago and support for anybody with an R after their name in the outlying counties. It also wouldn't be a surprise to see Hill below 50 percent support, given the throw-the-bums-out temperature of the times and the particularly low approval rating of the GOP Congress.
The interesting results would be those on needle-moving questions. Is health care a winner in Arkansas, for example? It was in Virginia, where a Democrat won the governor's race and Democrats almost erased a 32-seat Republican state House advantage. Suburban districts with swing voters were powerful in Virginia for Democrats. Faulkner County might fit that profile in Arkansas's 2nd District, or at least that part in
the city of Conway might. I even had a Republican legislator tell me he saw such potential this year in Saline County, which elected Democrats such as Shane Broadway not so terribly long ago.
You'd think health care would be a plus in a state where more than 300,000 have benefitted from the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. French Hill has backed Donald Trump down the line, which might be a negative some places, but I suspect Trump retains more popularity in Arkansas.
Hill is sitting on more than $1 million in campaign money, heavily powered by contributions from the securities and banking industry
(major beneficiaries of the tax legislation that Hill supported, by the way). Any Democrat will have to raise money first to win the primary, a challenge Hill likely won't face. And French Hill, apart from being a wealthy banker, carries no baggage of the sort that beat Roy Moore