A new campaign poll from Democrat Patrick Henry Hays showed him ahead of his Republican opponent by 3 points in one of his party's top House targets in Arkansas.
Hays, the former mayor of North Little Rock, had a small lead over banker French Hill , 44 percent to 41 percent, according to the poll conducted by Global Strategy Group and paid for by Hays. That's within the poll's 4.8 percent margin of error.
Hays and Hill are vying for Arkansas' 2nd District , an open-seat race because GOP Rep. Tim Griffin is leaving Congress to run for lieutenant governor. The district voted for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney by a 12-point margin last cycle, and the race is rated a Leans Republican contest by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
But Democrats have argued the party will perform better in this district without a presidential race on the ballot. They've also touted Hays as the kind of Democrat who could win here. A friend of former President Bill Clinton , an Arkansas native, Hays has raised reported $620,000 in cash on hand as of June 30. Hill had $468,000 in the bank as of the same date.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reserved $625,000 on Little Rock broadcast in the race from Oct. 21 through Election Day, a sign it thinks the race will be competitive.
The poll also found Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor leading Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., in this district, 51 percent to 42 percent. Pryor needs to run up the score in this district, which includes the city of Little Rock, if he has any hope of winning re-election.
The poll surveyed 410 likely voters via live telephone calls from Sept. 7 to Sept. 9.
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