• Schuyler Beltrami

2022 Midterms Preview – Arkansas

Updated: Sep 22


A view of the Ozark Mountains in northwestern Arkansas (Photo: Wikipedia)

The Millennial Agora continues our complete preview of the upcoming midterm elections for Congress with the state of Arkansas. A state of over 3 million people, Arkansas is a deep red state in the deep south. Known for its natural hot springs, Arkansas is also the home of the world headquarters of Walmart, the world’s largest retailer. In 2020, Donald Trump won the state of Arkansas by a margin of nearly 30% and continued the strong showing of Republicans in the state. The last Democrat to win in the state was Bill Clinton, who was also the Governor of Arkansas for two terms. Like nearly all of Arkansas’ neighbors in the deep south, Republicans perform extremely well in both state-level and national elections. In 2022, there will be elections in Arkansas for the House of Representatives, Senate, and Governor of the state. Arkansas has four seats in the House of Representatives and this number remained unchanged after redistricting in 2020 to reflect changes in the United States’ population, however many of the districts were redrawn, meaning that some incumbents have been switched into different districts. Currently, all four seats are occupied by Republicans.


House of Representatives

Arkansas receives four seats in the House of Representatives, and all seats will be up for election in November. The overall CVPI for the entire state is R+16, making Arkansas’ House races (taken as a whole) to be strongly in favor of the Republican Party. (The CPVI, or Cook Partisan Voting Index, is the main metric to measure the strength of a political party for a particular House district or Senate seat. The measure was created and managed by the non-partisan Cook Political Report and uses historical data, as well as polling, to create the “partisan lean” of each district or state. A CPVI rating of R+15 would mean that on average, Republican candidates win elections in that district or state by an average of 15%, while a rating of D+15 would mean the same thing, but for the Democratic candidate. A district or state with a CPVI with double digits is considered to be non-competitive).


I. AR-01:

A. Current Representative: Rick Crawford (R)

B. Population Distribution: Largely Rural

C. Demographics: 74% White, 18% African American, 4% Hispanic

D. Cook PVI: R+22 (Strong Republican)

E. Outlook: Arkansas’s first district is the most Republican district in a very Republican state. Located in the state’s northeast corner, the district includes the city of Jonesboro, and borders Missouri, Tennessee, and Mississippi. The current incumbent, Rick Crawford, who is a former radio news anchor for an agricultural news channel, has been serving in the seat since 2010. In 2020, Rep. Crawford ran unopposed and usually wins his elections by a margin of over 30%.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Republican Victory (HOLD)


II. AR-02:

A. Current Representative: French Hill (R)

B. Population Distribution: Majority Urban, Minority Suburban and Rural

C. Demographics: 65% White, 23% African American, 7% Hispanic

D. Cook PVI: R+9 (Likely Republican)

E. Outlook: The Arkansas second district encompasses much of the central part of the state, including the northern half of the capital and largest city, Little Rock. The Arkansas 2nd was a more competitive district (R+7) before redistricting in 2020, which essentially split the city of Little Rock into two different districts. The district is now more rural and includes more small cities to the north and west of Little Rock. The incumbent is French Hill, former Executive Secretary of President George H.W. Bush’s Economic Policy Council from 1991 to 1993. He has been serving in this Congressional seat since 2014. In 2018, he won his election by only 6%, but this number increased to 11% in 2020 and will certainly go higher now that he is in a more favorable district. Unlike many Representatives running this year, Rep. Hill has a long history in the state, as he is a ninth-generation Arkansan. His opponent in this election is public advocate Quintessa Hathaway, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Republican Victory (HOLD)


III. AR-03:

A. Current Representative: Steve Womack (R)

B. Population Distribution: Majority Urban

C. Demographics: 72% White, 16% Hispanic, 3% Asian, 3% African American

D. Cook PVI: R+15 (Strong Republican)

E. Outlook: The Arkansas 3rd district was shrunken considerably in redistricting and now includes all the Northwestern urban conglomeration of Fayetteville and Bentonville, a region of the state which is dominated by the world headquarters of Walmart and its thousands of employees. The change of the district took away much of the rural parts of the old AR-03 and made the district somewhat more competitive. Still, with a rating of R+15, a Republican victory is ensured in the district. The current Representative, Steve Womack, has been in his seat since 2010 and has never had a margin of victory smaller than 30%.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Republican Victory (HOLD)


IV. AR-04:

A. Current Representative: Bruce Westerman (R)

B. Population Distribution: Majority Rural

C. Demographics: 70% White, 19% African American, 7% Hispanic

D. Cook PVI: R+20 (Strong Republican)

E. Outlook: The Arkansas 4th district is located in the southwestern corner of the state and includes the city of Pine Bluff as well as Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas’ most visited tourist site. The district is currently represented by Bruce Westerman, who has been in this seat since 2014, when he succeeded Tom Cotton, who is now one of the two Senators of Arkansas. Running in a deep red district, Rep. Westerman has not been in a competitive election since 2014, a trend which will continue in 2022.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Republican Victory (HOLD)


Senate

As with every other state, Arkansas has two seats in the Senate, with one of these seats being up for election in 2022. Incumbent Senator John Boozman, who was first elected in 2010, will be seeking a third term in the Senate. Sen. Boozman won the Republican primary easily, and his vote count was more than double the vote count of all Democratic candidates in their primary. His Democratic opponent in this election is Natalie James, a small business owner and community advocate. A Republican incumbent in a deep red state is good news for the current Senator as he looks poised to enter his third term in Congress.

Millennial Agora Prediction: Republican Victory (HOLD)


Governor

The third and final race in Arkansas is for Governor of the state. Incumbent Republican Senator Asa Hutchinson is not allowed to run for a third term, as Arkansas is one of eight states which limits Governors to two terms. Looking to replace him as Governor and continue Republican control of the state is Sarah Huckabee Sanders, former White House Press Secretary under Donald Trump from 2017-2019. Ms. Huckabee Sanders is also the daughter of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who is now a Republican strategist. Ms. Huckabee Sanders has received key endorsements from many of her former colleagues, including Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence. Her opponent in the race is Dr. Chris Jones, a nuclear engineer and former executive director of the Arkansas Innovation Hub. Both candidates dominated their respective primary elections. Similar to the Senate and House races, the Republican candidate for Governor will have an easy time of winning her election.

Millennial Agora Prediction: Republican Victory (HOLD)


Analysis

The Millennial Agora is predicting that all elections in Arkansas will lead to Republican holds, as there are simply no districts where Democrats can challenge incumbent Republican office holders.


Thank you for reading our preview of the midterm elections in Arkansas. Check back tomorrow as we tackle the state with the most amount of House seats: California, a state where Republicans are looking to make key gains with dissatisfied former Democratic voters in the center and north of the state.



The state of the House after our predictions. Made at 270towin.com

The state of the Senate after our predictions. Made at 270towin.com (States in light grey have no Senate seats up for election this year)

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