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Dems have candidate

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It's been a long struggle, but it looks like the Democratic Party has a candidate for Congress in the 2nd District against incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, the Little Rock Republican.

He's Jay Martin, 42, a lawyer who served two terms in the state House of Representatives covering a portion of North Little Rock and Sherwood, 2003-2006. He tried for lieutenant governor in 2006, but finished fourth in a four-man field behind eventual winner Lt. Gov. Bill Halter.

Martin isn't officially committed, but he's already in talks with a campaign consultant, Ruth Whitney, about building a team and has talked to some other Democrats, such as Halter, who've been mentioned as potential candidates. He won't reveal their thinking, but he says he's hopeful he won't have an opponent in the Democratic primary.

For now, Martin is speaking mostly in warm generalities about a need to end divisiveness in Washington and work for common aims of all Arkansans. But he acknowledges that the race ultimately must turn on differences in issues, though he insists that need not be personal. Given Griffin's willingness to upend such popular programs as Medicare and Social Security, judging by his votes on Republican budget proposals, it will be hard for many voters to separate policy from the personal.

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