French Hill, Bruce Westerman Win GOP Congressional Primaries

by Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press  on Wednesday, May. 21, 2014 7:33 am  

LITTLE ROCK — Banking executive French Hill clinched an outright victory over two rivals Tuesday in a Republican U.S. House primary, while state Rep. Bruce Westerman claimed the GOP nomination for another Arkansas congressional seat.

The two races highlight a primary where Republicans faced heated contests for dozens of statewide and legislative seats. Republican U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, who represents east Arkansas' 1st Congressional District, did not have a primary opponent and will face Democrat Jackie McPherson this fall.

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, a Republican who represents northwest Arkansas' 3rd Congressional District, also didn't have a primary opponent and does not have a Democratic challenger in the general election.


Hill, the founder and chief executive officer of Delta Trust and Banking Corp., won the Republican nomination outright for central Arkansas' 2nd Congressional District, defeating state Rep. Ann Clemmer and retired Army Col. Conrad Reynolds.

He advances to a fall matchup with former North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays, who ran unopposed Tuesday for the Democratic nomination. Hill said he planned to continue focusing on cutting the federal government's power as he shifts into general election mode

"I think the race is still about the role of the federal government, that the federal government needs to be more accountable in how it spends money and what it spends money on," Hill told The Associated Press. "The federal government needs to make sure its regulatory regime is not inhibiting growth and economic growth in our country."

The seat is currently held by Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, who announced last year he wouldn't seek a third term and was running for lieutenant governor. He won the GOP nomination for that post Tuesday.

Hill, 57, outpaced his two rivals in fundraising and blanketed the district with television ads touting his business experience. But he has faced criticism from his two rivals who have questioned his conservative credentials over a donation he made to former Treasurer Martha Shoffner's re-election bid in 2010. Shoffner, a Democrat, resigned last year.

Hill, in turn, criticized Clemmer for supporting the budget bill for the private option — the state's compromise plan to expand Medicaid under the federal health law — last year and has criticized Reynolds over his campaign's finances.


Westerman defeated energy investor Tommy Moll in the GOP race for the 4th Congressional District, which stretches across southern and western Arkansas. The contest had turned into a bitter fight between two candidates who sparred over whose credentials were better for fighting the health law they both deride as "Obamacare."



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