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Political Note #281 Joyce Elliott AR CD 02
2020 General Election
(This note is business as usual. While the country deals with COVID-19, we also need to prepare for the election in November. This Note is intended to help achieve a Democratic victory.)
Joyce Elliott graduated from Southern Arkansas University in 1973. Southern State College, as it was then known, was integrated in 1964, in the fall after the Civil Rights Act passed. The Trustees and President began integration quietly. A few off campus black students enrolled in the fall of 1964, a few moved into the dorms in the fall of 1966. Controversies grew in 1968 and 1969 leading to one student advisor forced to resign, the other fired and the suspension and then disbanding of the black student organization. Joyce Elliott did not come to a quiet campus.
Joyce Elliott got her master’s degree at Ouachita Baptist University in 1981 at the age of thirty, three years after Mike Huckabee earned his undergraduate degree there. She was a teacher for thirty years. But not a quiet one. John Brummett of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette calls her Arkansas’ liberal lioness.
Joyce Elliott has been a political figure for at least two decades, serving in the Arkansas House of representatives from 2001 to 2007 and in the State Senate from 2009 to the present. During her tenure in the State Senate she has been the majority whip and the majority leader. Democrats, however, are no longer in the majority. While serving in the legislature, she has been the Director of Government Relations for the College Boards Southwest Region and served on numerous boards.
John Brummett said about Joyce Elliott’s candidacy — if you are going to lose, you may as well lose fiery. Here is Joyce Elliott being fiery addressing the Incumbent, French Hill in tweets.
“It is one thing to be lucky enough to have been born into a family in which your every need was taken care of….The luck of birth….spared you from understanding what it’s like to go to work every day, work long hours, sacrifice time with family, have only a vague idea of leisure tie even feels like and still barely get by or not at all.
…that’s no reason to remain willfully ignorant of the daily lives of your constituents. We support you and others who benefit from the 1 trillion [dollar] tax break you voted for…..To cite Thomas Jefferson as your “role model,” a man who owned humans and compelled them to furnish free labor to propagate his wealth is a fitting choice [for you].
You are a Chamber of Commerce guy. .. a collection of folks organized for their members’ benefit? That’s not a bad thing, except you wish to deny organizing for working people by throwing up barriers to their ability to do so. You tout the pretty sounding name “right to work”…..[which] is nothing more than code for “right to work for less.” “
She went on to describe the value of unions, to condemn his support for banking interests and to compare that with her lifelong support for working people.
Can this rhetoric make a difference? John Brummett thinks it will. He thinks she will lose by twenty points when the 2018 candidate lost by 6.
It is actually a surprise that French Hill is around. He seemed to reach his political peak as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Corporate Finance under GHW Bush. After more than a decade of retreating to local civic leadership, he was elected to Congress in 2014. He had little opposition in 2016 while Hillary Clinton was losing to Donald Trump by ten points in the district. His 2018 victory by 6 points was over a Democratic establishment figure, State Rep Clarke Tucker. Are Democrats gaining in AR 02?
Was the 6 point 2018 loss a high point for a Democratic congressional candidate or a step toward success? Joyce Elliott has a base to draw from. African Americans are 20% of the Second Congressional District. Whites are 75%. An African American progressive can win in a southern district that is not majority African American. Lucy McBath did that outside of Atlanta. We know a white moderate can win in a southern district that has an African American base. Joe Cunningham did that in SC 01 – a coastal district stretching from Charleston past Hilton Head. Unlike Joyce Elliott, Cunningham was not confrontational and not that progressive. SC 01 has similar 75-20 racial demographics to AR 02. Income is different, though. The median income in SC 01 is a little over $66,000. In AR 02 it is a little over $41,000. Can Joyce Elliott, a confrontational, progressive black woman, achieve a victory that resembles Joe Cunningham’s? In a much poorer district?
Does Joyce Elliott have a suburban base to draw from. In 2010, she tried. She traveled the country side to introduce herself and to try to gain some votes. It didn’t happen. 2020 is not 2010. Southern suburbs echoed northern suburbs in 2018 and voted for Democrats. That shift may be even greater in 2020?
It is possible that Little Rock, its suburbs, and the outlying countryside can be persuaded to vote for a Democratic candidate for Congress. To get there, though, Joyce Elliott will need more money than she’s got. At the start of the year, French Hill had over $1 million; Joyce Elliott had almost $200,000. She’s going to need some robust help if she is going to get there. Provide some of that help.’’
Below are Congressional seats Democrats are trying to flip from incumbent Republicans. The ones with asterisks ran in 2018* In 2018, Democrats flipped 40 Republican seats in the House. Let’s flip 20 more.
Arizona 06 Hiral Tipirneni* to beat incumbent David Schweikert
Arkansas 02. Joyce Elliott to beat incumbent French Hill
California 50 Ammar Campa-Hajjar* to win this now open Rep seat
Florida 16 Margaret Good to beat incumbent Vern Buchanan
Illinois 13 Betsy D Londrigen* to beat incumbent Rodney Davis
Indiana 05 Christina Hale to win this open Republican seat
Iowa 04 JD Scholten* to beat incumbent Steve King
Kansas 02 Michelle De La Isla to beat incumbent Steve Watkins
Michigan 06 Jon Hoadley to beat incumbent Fred Upton
Minnesota 01 Dan Feehan* to beat incumbent Jim Hagedorn
Missouri 02 Jill Schupp to beat incumbent Ann Wagner
New York 02 Jackie Gordon to win this open Republican seat
New York 21 Tedra Cobb* to beat incumbent Elise Stefanic
Ohio 04 Mike Larsen to beat incumbent Jim Jordan
Pennsylvania 10 Eugene DePasquale to beat incumbent Scott Perry
Texas 02 Sima Ladjervardian to beat incumbent Dan Crenshaw
Texas 21 Wendy Davis to beat incumbent Chip Roy
Texas 22 Sri Preston Kalkuri to win this open Republican seat
Texas 23 Gina Ortiz Jones* to win this open Republican seat
Washington 03 Carolyn Long* to beat incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler