Democrat quits US House race to run for State Senate
Democrat Nick Cartwright announced Monday that he would quit the race for Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District and run for the state Senate instead.
Cartwright, a rural organizer of Romance, launched his campaign in July for the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Republican, U.S. Representative French Hill, for the congressional seat covering central Arkansas.
He will now run for the new Senate District of State 18, which covers all of White County and parts of Faulkner and Cleburne Counties. State Senator Jonathan Dissman, R-Searcy, who has served in the chamber since 2011 after a two-year term in the State House, is seeking re-election to the District 18 seat.
In a statement on Monday, Cartwright said the campaign had not raised enough money to stage a competitive race against Hill in 2022 and that he was eager to back the eventual Democratic candidate.
“After more than three months in the race for Arkansas 2nd Congressional District, it is clear that my efforts would be better spent organizing locally in White County for the 2022 cycle,” Cartwright said in the statement.
He said closer focus would boost Democratic efforts in part of Arkansas where the party has struggled to find state-level candidates for several rounds.
“It will also ensure that Democrats reach communities in which we have not organized in some time,” he said, adding that District 18 “deserves representation in the state Senate that will fight for it. our public schools, our small businesses and our rural communities ”.
Cartwright said in an interview that Dissman is a “good guy” with whom he disagrees on politics, and that he wanted to focus on expanding broadband access in rural areas. and make it more affordable.
Reached by phone on Monday, Dissman said he did not know Cartwright but welcomed him to the race. He said he had yet to officially announce his campaign because he was focused on an upcoming special session on tax cuts.
In a statement, Hill said residents of central Arkansas sent him back to Congress with a resounding victory just over a year ago.
“It is an honor to serve them, and I will continue to work hard for them,” said Hill.
Cartwright’s announcement came just over three weeks after the deadline for candidates to submit their third quarter campaign finance reports to the Federal Election Commission. He said he raised almost $ 18,000 and spent nearly $ 12,000.
With just over $ 6,000 on hand, Cartwright said he plans to pay campaign expenses for the remainder of the year and consider transferring the remaining campaign funds from the state Senate.
Hill said he raised more than $ 835,000 in contributions.
Quintessa Hathaway, educator and entrepreneur from Sherwood, is the other Democratic candidate announced in the congressional 2nd District race. She did not file a third quarter fundraising report.
In an interview, she praised Cartwright on his campaign and said he would do a phenomenal job running for the State Senate. She said her campaign had received contributions and was “still raising enough funds,” but said she was focusing on the grassroots campaign and believed more money would come.
“We’re still in this business for the win,” Hathaway said.
In a statement Monday, Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Grant Tennille referred to the infrastructure package recently passed by President Joe Biden, which Hill voted against, as well as the newly drawn congressional districts.
“Voters want a member of Congress who will vote for bipartisan infrastructure plans and invest in our communities. New maps were only recently drawn and are not yet official. Republican attempts at gerrymandering and voter suppression cannot change the fact that the people deserve a representative who cares about the needs of the second district, ”he said.
The new lines for U.S. representatives, which were approved by the legislature in October and became law without the governor’s signature, divided Pulaski County into three different congressional districts. The most populous county in the state has been located entirely in the 2nd Congressional District since the 1960s.
Voting rights advocates say the new map, which moves 21,000 black residents of Pulaski County to Districts 1 and 4, dilutes the vote for minority groups.
Unless there is a legal challenge, the laws establishing the new map – Laws 1114 and 1116 – come into effect Jan. 14, according to a notice from Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.
Separately, the Arkansas Dispatch Council approved new legislative districts last month, kicking off a 30-day public comment period. The board is scheduled to meet again on November 29 to incorporate comments and make technical adjustments before giving final approval. The cards become law on December 30, with the exception of any legal barrier.