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Will he or won't he?


Political filing opens Thursday, Feb. 23, and some question marks remain about Democratic congressional candidates in the 2nd and 4th Districts.

At press time, no Democrat had formally announced for the 2nd District seat held by U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, a Republican. North Little Rock lawyer Jay Martin, a former state representative, has told the Times he's likely to make the race. But he apparently is also hanging back for a decision by Bill Halter.

Halter, the former lieutenant governor who lives in North Little Rock, has refused to say anything about his political plans this year, if any. National Democrats have urged him to make a congressional race, in either the 2nd or 4th District. He was noncommittal when Martin talked with him. Martin finished fourth in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor that Halter won in 2006. Halter's silence might actually help Martin if he is indeed firm on the race because the potential entry of Halter might discourage less serious candidates from joining the race.

Sen. Gene Jeffress of Louann has said he will run as a Democrat in the 4th District, but has filed no reports indicating he's raised any money for the race, even the filing fee. He also didn't return a call from the Times seeking to confirm he remained in the race. D.C. Morrison has said he'll run as a Democrat in the 4th and has already erected signs in the district. A candidate for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination in 2010, he endorsed Beth Anne Rankin for 4th District Congress in 2010, when she lost to Rep. Mike Ross. She's a Republican candidate again, with three others, Tom Cotton, John Cowart and Marcus Richmond.

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