John Adams, 33. It's a good name for a politician, but he'll probably need more than that. He's one of three progressive-looking but little-known candidates in the race. Now on leave from his job as an assistant attorney general, he says he'll come to the congressman's job from the perspective of someone who's also been an educator and a business lawyer. “That's different from people who think more about politics than policy.” He said he'd agreed with Vic Snyder on some things and disagreed on others, but “I definitely respected the fact that he always leveled with people. He said why he voted like he did.” Went to Yale and the University of Michigan Law School. “We have massive budget deficits. I don't hear enough from our side about that. We may have to let some tax cuts expire. Promising more tax cuts while running a huge deficit is very irresponsible.”
David Boling, 45. A lawyer and, until recently, the chief of staff for Congressman Snyder. Did he ask for an endorsement? “We visited about it. I was not surprised when he said he wouldn't endorse. That's the principled approach to take. He's been a great mentor to me.” Likes to point out differences between himself and Robbie Wills, who is probably the most conservative of the Democratic candidates. Says he's the only candidate in the race who's worked on foreign markets and creating export-related jobs.
Joyce Elliott, 61. Majority leader of the state Senate. A long-time supporter of progressive causes, she has the endorsement of the Arkansas State AFL-CIO. A former schoolteacher, she's been much involved in education issues.
Patrick Kennedy, 27. Another who's considered a good bet to follow in Snyder's liberal footsteps, should he be elected. Never met an issue he wouldn't take a stand on, and upbraids other candidates for not doing as he does. “If you don't believe in global warming, I don't want your vote.” Gave up his job as director of public programs and public policy at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service to run for Congress. Calls himself “probably one of the most unconventional candidates around.” Sold his car and an engagement ring to raise money for the race. “I'm not engaged, but I had a ring anyway.”
Robbie Wills, 41. Speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives, he's well-financed and well-connected. Says job creation is the number-one issue and he has a record in that regard as a legislator. Carried the bill that set up the state Lottery Commission. “I was proud to be part of that once the voters spoke.”