Tue November 14, 2023

By Shelly B Short

Politics State

Historic Candidate Filing Closes: Arkansas Democrats Announce Record Number of State Legislative Candidates

Politics Ardems Little Rock
Historic Candidate Filing Closes: Arkansas Democrats Announce Record Number of State Legislative Candidates

Watch today’s press conference here >>

LITTLE ROCK – On Tuesday, State Party officers and officials held a press conference as the candidate filing period for the 2024 General Election ended, declaring that all targeted districts across the state will have qualified candidates prepared to run competitive campaigns. Arkansas Democrats will contest 64 State House districts, the most since 2012 when the Party last held the majority in the chamber.

“This is a critical time in the history of Arkansas,” said Grant Tennille, Chair of the Democratic Party of Arkansas. “We believe we have recruited heroes. Heroes for health and safety over rancor and division, and heroes who believe that we can do better than being ranked 48th or 49th in so many facets of daily life. They are retired military officers, public school teachers, students, farmers, lawyers, and moms and dads. They are all advocates for a Better Arkansas.” 

“Of course, I need to offer one final thank you,” added Tennille. “I need to thank Governor Sarah Sanders and her staff. To quote the farmer we spoke to in Searcy County earlier this month, ‘Governor Sanders has done more to help the Democratic Party than anything we’ve seen in years.’ Put simply, the conduct and political arrogance of the supermajority party in this state have led to a stronger position for the Democratic Party and the results speak for themselves.”

The State Party also shared that they will field 78 total candidates for State House, seven candidates for State Senate, one candidate for State Treasurer, one candidate in all four congressional districts, and seven Presidential candidates. 

“More than a dozen seats that were not contested last year will have Democrats running this time,” explained Vice Chair Jannie Cotton. “Voters in several parts of Arkansas will have a Democrat on the ballot for the first time in many years. Our recruitment is, by all metrics, the most successful effort in a decade.”

For weeks leading to filing, Arkansas Democrats expressed renewed optimism and  buoyant pronouncements of a historic candidate slate. Their successful recruitment places them in the best position in several cycles to break the Republican supermajority in the State Legislature and compete in four congressional districts.

“We see a huge opportunity to break the supermajority in the State House and to return some balance to the State Legislature. There are people who are not traditional Democrats paying attention to what Republican lawmakers are doing at the State Capitol,” said Will Watson, DPA Director of Strategy, who led the candidate recruitment effort at the State Party. “Now that we have our slate of candidates, we are charged with going to the districts and having real conversations with these Arkansans about what is happening in their communities. We are ready to do just that.”