Skip to comments.[Arkansas Republican Tim] Griffin named to Ways and Means Committee
Posted on 11/30/2012 5:33:20 PM PST by AuH2ORepublican
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) Rep. Tim Griffin, an Arkansas Republican, was named Friday to the powerful U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, a move that he says rules out a run for governor or the Senate in 2014.
The panel announced that Griffin, who represents central Arkansas' 2nd District, was among four new Republican members. It is the chief tax-writing committee and members are not allowed to serve on other committees unless they receive a waiver from congressional leaders.
Griffin is the first congressman from Arkansas to serve on the panel since 1992 and the first Republican from the state.
"Being on the Ways and Means Committee is one of the best jobs in Washington," Griffin said. "I think it's great news for my constituents and great news for all of Arkansas."
Oops, I didn’t post the remaining paragraphs of the article:
Griffin said the appointment means he won’t run for governor or challenge Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor in 2014, races he said he had considered.
“I was going to give some serious thought to other options, but this is such an honor and it is exactly the subject matter I’m interested in, that I think holds the key to a lot of our fiscal problems,” Griffin said.
The panel is the oldest committee in Congress and also deals with legislation related to trade agreements, the national debt, federal revenues and programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Only eight Arkansas residents have served on the committee since it was founded in 1789.
The last Arkansas congressman to serve on the panel was Beryl Anthony, a Democrat who represented south Arkansas’ 4th District. The late Congressman Wilbur Mills, who represented Arkansas’ 2nd District, chaired the panel for 18 years and remains the longest serving chairman of the committee.
The announcement leaves Republicans uncertain on who will challenge Pryor, who announced earlier this year that he would seek a third term. Others seen as potential challengers include Rep. Steve Womack and incoming Rep. Tom Cotton. Both have said they’re focused on their jobs in Washington.
Several Republicans are considering running for governor with Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe barred by term limits from running again. The potential candidates include former Congressman Asa Hutchinson, who said he’ll likely announce a decision in January. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, a Democrat, is the only announced gubernatorial candidate so far.
So, that leaves the path to Senatorial candidate to Tom Cotton?
Well, Pryor is a Senator that the NRSC really needs to target for defeat. These deep red states are the way to go for the path to the majority. If not Griffin, who will run for Senate there? One of the other congressmen?
Pryor helped put ObamaCare on the map despite clear opposition from Arkansans. NRSC would be crazy to let this seat go unchallenged from a top tier candidate. What’s Huckabee up to these days? :)
The fact that Griffin likely will become a House lifer (given his new seat on Ways and Means) is terrific news for the GOP, electorally speaking. His Little Rock-based CD has become by far the least Republican of the states four CDs (all of which are now held by Republicans). AR-02 gave McCain and Romney 53.8% and 54.7%, respectively, in the past two presidential elections. By comparison, Rick Crawfords AR-01 in NW AR (which had been held by Democrat Marion Berryno, not the cokehead DC mayor, that was Marion Barryfor a couple of decades before he retired in 2010) gave 58.0% to McCain and 61.0% to Romney, newly elected Tom Cottons AR-04 (which Democrat Mike Ross vacated this year) gave McCain 59.9% and Romney 61.8%, and Steve Womack NW AR-03 (which has been held by Republicans for decades) voted 63.7% and 65.5% Republican the past two presidential elections.
So Griffins AR-02 will be the closest thing to a competitive district in AR for the rest of the decade (unless the white vote in the state swings mightily back towards the Democrats, which is unlikely). I was afraid that Griffin would run for the Senate in 2014 and that the Dems would pick up his House seat, but with Griffin staying put it should remain in GOP hands for awhile (particularly with Griffin being able to boast of his ability to get federal funds for district projects).
As to what Republican will take on Mark Pryor in 2014, I have no idea, but if he or she is remotely competent I like our chances. My favorite would have been Princella Smith (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princella_Smith), a solid conservative who is extremely charismatic and eloquent (she’s in the communications business) and finished third in the GOP primary for AR-01 in 2010. She will turn 30 in 2014, so she’ll barely meet the constitutional requirement. If elected, Prinella would become not only the first black female Republican ever elected to the U.S. Senate, but to either branch of Congress. (Although, hopefully, Mia Love will be elected to the House in 2014 after her heartbreaking 0.4% loss in UT-04 a few weeks ago.)
BTW, Mark Pryor ran unopposed for his 2008 reelection (stupid AR GOP). I wonder who was the last Senator who was defeated for reelection after having run unopposed the prior election.
Cotton is a very impressive candidate, but if he decides to run for the Senate it will have to wait at least a year, since he hasn’t even been sworn in to the House yet and it would just look bad to switch gears so quickly. And I don’t know if Cotton would give up what will be a safe House seat for him (62% for Romney, and the Dems didn’t come even close to winning the open seat) for a risky run for the Senate.
I recognize the timing issues, I just was wondering if there was another potentially strong candidate waiting for his turn (cough****TheHuckster, etc.*****cough) to come around.
Huckster lives in Florida, doesn’t he?
I was just thinking that there must be a number of AR pols who want to punch the clock in the US Senate.
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True, but he was defeated in the lrimary. Let me rephrase: who was the last Senator to be defeated in the general election after having won unopposed the prior time?
However, in 2008, AR's GOP was utterly decimated, leaving John Boozman as the sole statewide (federal or state) figure, and he probably figured it would be ill-advised to make a run that year. Still, though, we should've run a state legislator who could've softened Pryor up.
Conversely, I think there was a tactical reason why the IN Dems didn't field a candidate against Lugar in '06, choosing instead to focus on targeting GOP House seats. Without a strongly-contested Senate race, there wasn't a whole lot of reasons for Republicans to turn out en masse (well, except for House races). It worked, as they knocked off 3 of ours, grabbing a majority of the House delegation for the first time since 1992 (and it took us 6 more years to reclaim those 3 seats, but only to lose Lugar's).
Not having since this last post by you, I did the same, and came to the same conclusion.
However, it should be noted that on two occasions a Senator elected without major-party opposition retired before the next election and saw his seat go to the opposing party. In 1968, Republican George Aiken was reelected to the Senate with 99.9% of the vote (I assume that the ither 0.1% went to write-ins), but he retired instead of running for reelection in 1974 and Democrat Pat Leahy beat Republican Richard Mallary by 49.5% to 46.4% (Leahy becomng the first Democrat ever elected to the Senate from VT since the party’s founding 150 years prior).
And in 1990 Democrat David Pryor (current Senator Mark Pryor) was reelected to the Senate from AR while completely unopposed (he got 100% of the vote, so I guess they didn’t report write-ins), and when he didn’t run for reelection in 1996 the seat was picked up by Republican Tim Hutchison with 52.7% of the vote.
While I doubt that Mark Pryor will retire (maybe he would to run for the open governorship, but everyone expects retiring Congressman Mike Ross to run and clear the field on the Dem side), he might do his father one better and give his Senate seat to the GOP by losing himself. And to add to the irony, maybe Tim Hutchison’s brother, Asa, can recapture the Senate seat in which Tim H. succeeded David Pryor and that Mark Pryor later wrestled from Tim H.
Yes, I noted a few of those races you cited. However, I think had Aiken, a liberal Republican, ran again in 1974, he probably would’ve prevailed (much like Mathias in MD over Mikulski, which wasn’t even a close race). In fact, it would’ve been better if he had, since if he retired in 1980, it’s likely we would’ve held it (albeit since Mallary wouldn’t have run in ‘74, he would’ve taken it in 1980, unless Stewart Ledbetter took the nomination, who almost beat Leahy anyhow).
Had David Pryor ran again in 1996, I sincerly doubt he would’ve lost to anyone. He probably just didn’t want to serve in the minority for what looked like some time to come. However, I’m not too keen on Asa taking another run for the Senate (remember, he ran for it before Tim did in 1986 against Dale Bumpers). His performance in both the Senate (38%) and Governorship (41%) wasn’t exactly spectacular.
If Tom Cotton proves as great as said, maybe moving him up to the Senate after a single term isn’t such a bad idea. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t (except for Rick Berg in ND — and I think perhaps the only person who should be more upset about that race is Kent Conrad. He didn’t need to retire after all). I was worried about Griffin taking a run at it, because the Little Rock seat could go back to the Dems if they nominated a White candidate.
As an addendum to David Pryor, I’m forgetting whether or not he decided to retire before or after Huckster decided to have a go. I still believe he would’ve beaten Huckabee, presuming all the business with Jim Guy Tucker never occurred. It was, after all, Tucker’s malfeasance that sent Huckster on a different course. Ultimately, he’d have probably been better off in the Senate, as he was really a mediocre Governor. I think the state would’ve gone GOP statewide and downballot a decade earlier had he never been Governor. Tim Hutchinson probably would’ve taken the seat Blanche Lincoln won in 1998 instead.
The Governor might’ve ended up being Win Paul Rockefeller, though again, quite possible that the gains might not have changed much under him. Of course, he was more Conservative than his dad. Were it not for his untimely death, I think he would’ve held the Governorship in 2006 and defeated Beebe.
You’re probably righg about Aiken winning had he run again in 1974, even at age 82. In fact, I doubt that Leahy would have run against Aiken, Watergate or no Watergate. (Maybe Leahy would have run against Stafford in 1976, but I don’t think he’d do much better than Salmon’s 45%.) And with Reagan running so strongly in VT in 1980, I share your optimism about the GOP winning the open seat in 1980 when Aiken retired at age 88, whether with Ledbetter or another candidate. 1986 would have been a tough hold for any Republican in VT, but even if the seat finally went RAT that year, not having Leahy elected to the Senate in 1974 (nor any other Dem for another 12 years) may have postponed VT’s slide to moonbattery for another decade or so.
As for David Pryor, I’m not as certain as you that he would have been reelected had he run in 1996. Sasser got beat in TN to years before, with him about to become Majority Leader, and Southern Dem seats were dropping left and right in those days (it took some creative voting and vote-counting for Landrieu to be reelected in 1996). But perhaps you’re right and Pryor would have scared off Tim Hutchinson and other strong Republicans.
And I do recall you mentioning that if Griffin ran fir the Senate it might cause the House seat to flip, and I agree it would have been a real concern. But with Griffin staying in the House and getting on Ways and Means, I think the seat is safe for the forseeable future.
In hindsight, given the way TH would lose reelection, Jay Dickey may have been a better choice, and minus an infidelity scandal, he'd have held the seat for 3 terms. Dickey was only defeated for reelection in 2000 when the Clintons went the extra mile to personally take him out in retaliation for the impeachment.
I still wouldn't compare the situation with Pryor vs. Sasser, since Pryor wasn't running in 1994 and GOP strength was fairly nascent in AR. Other than Huckster winning an unusual special election in 1993 for Lt Governor, the GOP didn't gain anything of note in 1994. They couldn't beat Jim Guy Tucker and merely retained the 2 House seats they already had (the solid GOP 3rd, which hadn't gone Dem since 1964, and Dickey's 4th).
Here in TN, the state was badly suffering from Dem fatigue (partly resulting from a 20-year extension of Dem dominance due to Watergate) and it was fairly clear we would make strong gains (and we did, with both Senate seats falling at once, the Governorship, and 5 out of 9 House seats, up from 3 -- and just narrowly losing a 6th seat in my neighboring 6th district). It was solely due to gerrymandering that we failed to capture the legislature, as we received a majority of votes (landslide for the GOP seats, narrow wins for the Dem seats). Of course, it would take us 16 more years to finally solidify majority control in both Houses.
Back to AR again, I noted that while the GOP narrowly won control of the House this time, it wasn't as wide as it should've been, with the Dems taking out some "controversial" members in GOP-leaning seats (one guy in Jonesboro who opined about slavery being a good thing -- dumb stuff that you might discuss as an academic exercise, but nothing one would go on about in a serious way publicly). I think the Dems knocked out 3 GOP incumbents, and had they taken out 2 more, would've kept the majority. Term limits has at least finally had the positive impact in AR with getting the GOP to a majority (it did initially in the '90s until Huckster actually managed to preside over losses..., though under Beebe, the growth resumed again).
In another cycle or two, I expect the GOP will probably reach upwards of 60 seats in the House. The problem they had was a serious inability to win outside of the NW/Ozark tier of counties and the Little Rock suburbs. Ultimately, other than urban liberal precincts of L.R., Dem strength will likely be confined exclusively to the SE area of the state and along the Mississippi, the seriously impoverished and stagnant Black majority areas. Basically, what the map for President looked like this year...
The county just below L.R.'s Pulaski, Jefferson, is where Pine Bluff is. Despite its relatively close proximity to the capital and access to the Arkansas River, it is a very sad and deteriorating place. PB held roughly the same population (above 50k) for some time, but there's just no new growth at all. The real growth is occurring in the GOP counties surrounding Pulaski along I-40 and northwards.
PB at least hasn't reached Helena-style collapse, over in Phillips County (2 counties east of Jefferson's PB), which cast the highest % for Zero in the state -- 66% to 33%. What's so sad is these river counties could be big tourist draws with the right leadership, but so long as they have corrupt Dems with an entitlement and blame Whitey mindset, they'll remain mired in poverty and high crime.
Wow !!! Princella Smith is impressive!!!