$5.6M spent on key race in state

Par­ties fought for 2nd Dis­trict seat

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - Arkansas - FRANK E. LOCK­WOOD

WASH­ING­TON — The two top can­di­dates in Arkansas’ 2nd Con­gres­sional Dis­trict to­gether spent more than $5.6 mil­lion on their cam­paigns, ac­cord­ing to forms filed this week with the Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion.

The cen­tral Arkansas con­test was the most com­pet­i­tive House race in Arkansas; na­tional Demo­cratic Party of­fi­cials had por­trayed it as winnable.

U.S. Rep. French Hill, a Repub­li­can from Lit­tle Rock, re­ported spend­ing more than $3.3 mil­lion on his suc­cess­ful re-elec­tion bid.

State Rep. Clarke Tucker, a Demo­crat from Lit­tle Rock, ended up spend­ing more than $2.3 mil­lion, his post-elec­tion FEC re­port states.

Hill lost Pu­laski County, the state’s most pop­u­lous, but won the other six. He fin­ished with 52.1 per­cent of the vote. Tucker, who had the back­ing of the Demo­cratic Con­gres­sional Cam­paign Com­mit­tee, re­ceived 45.8 per­cent. Lib­er­tar­ian Joe Swaf­ford of Maumelle was third with 2.0 per­cent. The elec­tion was Nov. 6. The spend­ing to­tals sur­prised Univer­sity of Arkansas, Fayet­teville po­lit­i­cal sci-

ence pro­fes­sor Ja­nine Parry.

“That seems like a stag­ger­ing amount for an Arkansas U.S. House race,” she said.

Cam­paign spend­ing seems to be ac­cel­er­at­ing na­tion­wide, she noted.

“The flood­gates have opened,” she said. “[There’s] al­most un­lim­ited money from al­most un­lim­ited sources.”

Money poured in to both cam­paigns dur­ing the closing days of the 2018 cam­paign.

Be­tween Oct. 18 and Nov. 26, Tucker had net con­tri­bu­tions of $395,942. Dur­ing the same pe­riod, Hill col­lected $203,593, the forms show.

At this point, Hill’s cam­paign war chest is nearly de­pleted. He re­ported just

$92,350 cash on hand as of Nov. 26.

The other three U.S. representatives from Arkansas have deeper re­serves to draw upon.

Third Dis­trict U.S. Rep. Steve Wo­mack, a Repub­li­can from Rogers, spent nearly $1.1 mil­lion to win re-elec­tion. There’s plenty avail­able for 2020, how­ever. His cam­paign re­ported cash on hand to­tal­ing nearly $1.2 mil­lion as of Nov. 26. His Demo­cratic op­po­nent, Josh Mahony of Fayet­teville, spent $259,712. He re­ported cash on hand of $201 and debts to­tal­ing $46,666.

Fourth Dis­trict U.S. Rep. Bruce Wester­man, a Repub­li­can from Hot Springs, spent al­most $1.2 mil­lion, leav­ing him with $676,692. His Demo­cratic op­po­nent, Hay­den Shamel of Hot Springs, spent

$144,655 $4,037 Rep. spent Demo­crat He­lena-West $135,769. In Rick $575,070. the in the and Craw­ford’s 1st from Chin­tan Craw­ford, bank. He­lena, fin­ished Dis­trict, His Jones­boro, op­po­nent, De­sai spent a cash with U.S. Repub­li­can of on $323,643, De­sai but hand also had on re­ported FEC no Nov. money re­ports 26 no left to­taled show. cam­paign over, in­cum­bent The debts. left­over Repub­li­cans’ funds in bank the ac­counts scare off po­ten­tial may be enough com­peti­tors to in 2020, Parry said.

The fig­ures may also be a source of com­fort for cur­rent of­fice­hold­ers.

“The more in­tim­i­dat­ing the size of the war chest is, the more safe the in­cum­bent feels,” Parry added.

Hill Tucker

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