Arkansas Candidates Make Final Pitch Before Election

by Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press  on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012 4:58 pm  

State Sen. Gene Jeffress, a Democrat who has lagged financially in his bid against Republican Tom Cotton, said he was still hopeful that his cash-strapped campaign would prevail in Tuesday's vote.

"If I do win this, I guarantee you there will be waves across Washington D.C. and the nation," Jeffress said.

Cotton, an Army veteran and former management consultant, said he believed he would pick up support from traditionally Democratic voters in the 4th District.

"I think Arkansans of all parties want to elect a conservative to serve in Congress to either repair the damage by Barack Obama if he's defeated, or stop any more damage if he's re-elected," Cotton said.

The election also pits Democrat Scott Ellington, a local prosecutor, against Republican U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford in the bid for the 1st Congressional District in east Arkansas. Ellington helped negotiate the deal last year that freed three men who were convicted as teenagers in the 1993 murders of three Cub Scouts in West Memphis. Crawford, who was elected in 2010 partly on a pledge to oppose any tax increases, proposed hiking taxes on millionaires earlier this year in exchange for a balanced budget amendment.

In central Arkansas, Democrat Herb Rule challenged Republican Rep. Tim Griffin in the 2nd Congressional District. Republican Rep. Steve Womack did not face any major party opposition since his Democratic challenger withdrew his candidacy over questions about his military record.

Voters will also have a say on three ballot measures, including a proposal to allow patients with certain conditions to buy medical marijuana. If approved, it would make Arkansas the first southern state to legalize medical marijuana.

Secretary of State Mark Martin has predicted 65 percent of the state's 1.6 million registered voters will cast a ballot in Tuesday's election. Early voting remained busy through Monday, with many sites reporting lines throughout the day.

More than 435,000 people had voted early in the state by late Monday afternoon.

Tommy Burton, who cast his ballot in Lonoke County on Monday, said he believed the state was likely on the verge of handing Republicans the Legislature.

"For a long time, we've had a lot more conservative-type Democrats in office," Burton, 44, said, adding that he voted for Romney and Crawford. "And the whole Democrat Party has changed on the national level."

Thomas Hodges, a landscaper and delivery driver who also cast his ballot Monday, said he voted for Obama and Democrats across the board. Hodges, 50, praised the president's work on the economy and his decision to bail out General Motors.

"The Republicans haven't shown me anything," he said.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten, broadcast or distributed.) 

 

 

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