State Representative Brandt Smith to challenge Representative Rick Crawford in 2022

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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) – A four-term state representative from Craighead County said on Friday he would challenge outgoing Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Jonesboro) in next year’s GOP primary.

District 58 Representative Brandt Smith (R-Jonesboro) said he was running for the congressional seat, in part because of what he says he has heard from Republicans in the district over the past two years.

Smith said Republicans told him they didn’t see Crawford at local meetings, didn’t attend grassroots meetings at the local level, but would attend state and district meetings.

Smith said he also believes he has the knowledge and insight to run for the seat of Congress and can better serve the district, instead of running for a fifth term in State House next year. In the legislature, Smith is deputy chair of the House Judiciary Committee, the House Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee, and served as House Majority Whip in the 2018 session.

The Congressional District is a large district, at the land level, and covers much of Arkansas, from Baxter County in the west to Chicot County in the south. The neighborhood also covers several areas, including Jonesboro, Paragould, and the suburbs of Little Rock and Memphis.

As for the campaign, Smith said he plans to visit as many county committees as possible by the May 24, 2022 primary to get his point across. He also said he felt confident to raise funds for the campaign and gain voter support, saying he received nearly 60% of the vote in his Jonesboro district in 2016, 2020 and that he s ‘was presented unopposed in 2018.

He said he also wanted Republicans to push back on the immigration issue, especially the COVID-19 issue, saying he supported former President Donald Trump’s approach to the matter.

Crawford, who sits on the House Agriculture, Transportation and Intelligence committees, was elected in 2010, becoming the first Republican to win the House seat in more than 100 years.

Crawford ran unopposed in 2020 and was re-elected in 2018 with 76.2% of the vote in 2016 and 68.9% of the vote in 2018.

The announcement on Friday that Smith would be running drew a response from Crawford’s campaign spokesman David Manns.

“Congressman Crawford and State Representative Smith had a brief conversation about the work each went into building the Republican Party. Mr Smith may not have liked to hear more details about the considerable work done by Congressman Crawford, which was in direct conflict with the inaccurate assumptions on which Rep. Smith apparently based his preliminary decision to appear. in Congress, ”Manns said.

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