Filing Period Highlights Arkansas Political Shift (Andrew DeMillo Analysis)

by Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press  on Sunday, Mar. 9, 2014 9:22 am  

But the primaries could also highlight splits within the Republican Party, divisions that Democrats are eager to highlight. Most of the divide centers around the "private option" compromise Medicaid expansion that was reauthorized last week. The plan to use federal Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for the poor is guaranteed to be a factor in several GOP races throughout the ballot.

For now, the primaries offer hope to both parties.

"I think it's a bit of both. It's a bit of the Republican Party being increasingly a nomination worth having," said Jay Barth, a political science professor at Hendrix College. "I do think there is some Democratic discipline about trying to go ahead and take care of things now to keep them more unified going forward."

The test will come in November whether Democrats' hopes for a unified front can match Republicans' hopes for an energized party.

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