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.
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.