Arkansas Democrats Campaign on Clinton Legacy

Sunday, 22 Dec 2013 07:51 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Democrats in Arkansas are attempting to build support for beleaguered party candidates by downplaying President Barack Obama's place in the party, instead emphasizing Bill Clinton's legacy as governor and president, and hinting that after Obama, the Democrat in the White House could be Hillary Clinton, The New York Times reported.

Obama is highly unpopular in Arkansas with just 29 percent approving his performance. The state has tilted Republican since Clinton left the presidency.

Republicans are running their campaigns against Democratic opponents by connecting them to Obama's unpopular policies, especially the Affordable Care Act.

Clinton has become deeply involved in the campaigns of his protégés who are running for office in 2014.

Among those is former Rep. Mike Ross, who is trailing Asa Hutchinson in the governor's race by a margin of 41 percent to 37 percent, according to Talk Business Arkansas. As a House member, Hutchinson was a key figure in Bill Clinton's impeachment.

The former president is also campaigning for Sen. Mark Pryor, who is trailing his GOP opponent Rep. Tom Cotton by seven points, according to Politico.

Pryor reminds voters that Obama has three years left in office. "Who's there the next four years?" he asks, hinting that the answer is Hillary Clinton.

James Lee Witt, a former Clinton administration official, is running for Congress with Clinton's backing in a district considered Republican, according to Roll Call.

And former Little Rock mayor Patrick Henry Hays, yet another Clinton protégé, is seeking an open House seat in a district previously held by a Republican.

How much political influence Bill Clinton has today in Arkansas is unknown. A new generation has no memory of his tenure as governor. Clinton returns to Little Rock every six weeks or so, staying in an apartment atop his presidential library.

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