Skip to comments.Ark. lawmaker eyes Senate race
Posted on 06/11/2003 10:29:07 PM PDT by LdSentinal
rkansas House Republican leader Marvin Parks is mobilizing for a race against Democratic Rep. Vic Snyder in the state's 2nd Congressional District.
Snyder's move to "test the waters" is the first good news in recent months for the state GOP, which has had trouble recruiting a candidate to take on Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln.
"I felt it was time for me to put together an exploratory committee -- and see if I can generate the excitement and the interest and the financial resources to make a competitive race out of it," said Parks, 42, who represents the 46th District in the state House.
The most pressing question facing Parks is whether he can raise $500,000, the bare minimum he says he'll need to run a credible campaign. "I'm hoping we can top that," said Parks, who will be term-limited out of office come 2005.
Snyder, 55, now in his fourth term, did not face a Republican challenger last November. His only opposition was a nonaligned write-in candidate who reeled in 11,000 votes, compared to the congressman's 143,000.
Parks, a former teacher and basketball coach, said several issues separate him from Snyder -- including Parks's support for tort reform, his opposition to so-called partial-birth abortion and their different views on fiscal policy.
"He voted against the president's tax cut," Parks said of Snyder. "I would have supported it."
A vociferous opponent of raising state sales and tobacco taxes, Parks, with other conservatives, helped to shut down Arkansas's regular legislative session earlier this year.
In his congressional bid, Parks expects support from business, "pro-family" groups, veterans and farmers in the district, which includes Little Rock, the state capital, and a patchwork of rice, soybean, wheat and cotton farms ranging from 200 to 2,000 acres.
Parks added he would campaign for black voters, one of the Democrats' core constituencies. "I think African-American voters tend to be more conservative than people recognize," he said.
Carl Forti, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said he knew of no other GOP candidates looking to challenge Snyder.
Snyder said that in his six and a half years in Congress he's been home every weekend save three.
"One of those they wouldn't let me fly because I had my appendix out," Snyder said.
The congressman, who sits on the House Armed Services and Veterans Affairs committees, stressed that he's focused, for now, on Capitol Hill.
"We have tremendous work to do in Afghanistan and Iraq to see that the victories there turn into something permanently good," he said. "We've not finished the defense bill. Then you get going to domestic issues, with Medicare, prescription drugs."
Snyder, a family-practice doctor who also has a law degree from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, declined to say which Democratic presidential candidate he'd most like to campaign with in the 2nd Congressional District.
And he raised doubts that Republicans, at this date, would find anyone to challenge Lincoln, who had more than $1.2 million in the bank at the end of March, according to her Federal Election Commission report.
"I've always thought she'd always hold that seat as long as she wanted," Snyder said of Lincoln.
Gov. Mike Huckabee and Asa Hutchinson, an undersecretary at the Department of Homeland Security and a former congressman from northwest Arkansas, are the two Republicans most often cited by GOP officials as possible Lincoln challengers.
So far, neither has announced his plans. The delay may reflect Lincoln's popularity at home, particularly in light of her recent fight for child tax credits for people who are too poor to be paying taxes.
Referring to the Senate race, Huckabee spokesman Jim Harris said Tuesday: "I have not heard or seen anything on that. It's just been real quiet."
So called? Geez, these condescending, liberal so called objective reporters make me sick.
Because some dumbass headline writer saw the Blance Lincoln references and got things mixed up.