Conner Eldridge, a Democratic former U.S. attorney, said Wednesday he will run for Senate next year in Arkansas against Republican Sen. John Boozman.
Eldridge, who resigned last month, said in a statement that his work in law enforcement allows him to run as a nonpartisan outsider.
“People in Washington aren’t bringing solutions to these problems and aren’t getting things done,” he said. “Arkansas needs leaders who will stand up to anyone in Washington, from either political party, and do what’s right for Arkansas and for our country.”
Eldridge, 38, was appointed U.S. attorney by President Barack Obama in 2010 — something the National Republican Senatorial Committee said Wednesday will make it easy for Republicans to tie him to the president who is deeply unpopular in his state.
“Conner Eldridge might want to remove the line about working for President Obama on his résumé, because his ties to the unpopular president make him unelectable in Arkansas,” said NRSC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek. “Unlike Conner Eldridge, John Boozman has spent his life caring for Arkansas families and fighting Obama’s reckless policies that have put our country at risk.”
When Boozman was first elected to Congress in 2002, he was the only Republican in Arkansas’ delegation . With Hillary Rodham Clinton, the state’s former first lady, aiming for a seat at the top of the ticket next year, some have said this cycle could be a test of the GOP’s newfound dominance there. (In an interview with CQ Roll Call earlier this year Boozman shrugged off the notion, saying, “I really don’t see that they have any coattails in Arkansas.”)
Since 2010, the year Boozman ousted Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln, Democrats have lost ground in the Natural State. In 2014, the state’s other Democratic incumbent, Sen. Mark Pryor, was defeated by then-Rep. Tom Cotton, despite a heavy investment by national groups like the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
DSCC spokesman Justin Barasky said his group will be active there this time around.
“Senator Boozman is a Washington insider ripe for a challenge and Conner is a strong candidate for Arkansas,” he said. “We look forward to watching his campaign grow.”