Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 11, 2016

Arkansas Primary Results: French Hill, Bruce Westerman Win GOP Primaries

Pryor didn't have to wait to learn his GOP challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two Republican primaries in Arkansas on Tuesday finalized the makeup of potentially competitive House races this fall.

National Democrats, who have lost several seats in Arkansas over the last couple of cycles, are targeting Arkansas’ 2nd and 4th districts. With their own nominees already in hand, Democrats now know which Republicans will be vying to keep the open seats in GOP hands.

Both races will run under the umbrella of competitive statewide races for governor and Senate. The latter will feature Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor and Republican Rep. Tom Cotton, who both avoided primary challenges.

Arkansas’ 2nd District

In the 2nd, banker French Hill defeated state Rep. Ann Clemmer for the GOP nomination. Hill led 55 percent to 23 percent, with 72 percent of precincts reporting when The Associated Press called the race. A third GOP candidate, veteran Conrad Reynolds, took 22 percent.

Hill moves on to face former North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Henry Hays, the Democratic nominee, in November. Witt ran unopposed for the Democratic nod.

Arkansas’ 2nd District is open this cycle because of Rep. Tim Griffin’s bid for lieutenant governor.

Democrats have touted Hays as a top recruit with the potential to win a seat Mitt Romney carried with 55 percent in 2012. The race is rated Leans Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Arkansas’ 4th District

State House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman is the GOP nominee in Arkansas’ 4th District after he defeated energy executive Tommy Moll on Tuesday.

Westerman led 53 percent to 47 percent, with 70 percent of precincts reporting when The Associated Press called the race.

Westerman now faces James Lee Witt, former FEMA director under President Bill Clinton, who ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

Romney carried the 4th in 2012 with 62 percent, making this an uphill climb for a Democrat. Still, Democrats say Witt is a top-tier recruit who could make the race competitive in November.

Arkansas’ 4th District is rated Leans Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

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