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Arkansas - 2nd District

Incumbent -- Vic Snyder (D) ; Will retire at end of current term (announced Jan. 15, 2010)

Likely Republican
Race Ratings Key

Updated Oct. 14, 2010

When Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen said the party would be looking at the House map and make tough decisions about where to cut its losses, the Maryland lawmaker probably had this Little Rock-based district in mind.

Snyder was no shoo-in for re-election in this conservative district, which is growing increasingly Republican. And Republicans think the prospect of a tough race against the highly touted and well-connected Tim Griffin (R), a former U.S. attorney, was the main reason Snyder decided to retire.

Democrats needed a runoff before selecting state Sen. Joyce Elliott as their nominee. Elliott, who is black, has a base in Little Rock and Pulaski County, and she's expected to perform well among black voters in a district that is 21 percent African-American.

But Griffin has a cash-on-hand advantage and is expected to perform well in the Republican-trending suburbs of Little Rock. Elliott will probably need outside cash to compete, and she isn't likely to find that coming from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.


District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

An urban hub in a relatively rural state, the state capital, Little Rock, is the focal point of the 2nd -- more than half of the district's population lives in the Little Rock area. The district has the state's largest white-collar population and its highest median household income. To the west, the 2nd climbs the Ouachita Mountains. In the eastern reaches, White County hosts Church of Christ-affiliated Harding University.

In Little Rock, a University of Arkansas campus and the system's medical school lead a regional health care, education and research hub, employing thousands of district residents. The River Market District lures partygoers looking for club and bar venues, and the Quapaw Quarter's Victorian buildings draw history buffs to downtown. The nearby Clinton Presidential Center also sits along the Arkansas River, and the entertainment district spills across the Big Dam Bridge to North Little Rock, which hosts the 18,000-seat multipurpose Verizon Arena.

Little Rock's Pulaski County, poor and working-class neighborhoods, and strong union and university populations account for any Democratic votes here. The 2nd twice supported favorite-son Bill Clinton in presidential elections, but residents now support GOP candidates in federal races. There has been population growth outside of Pulaski in more-conservative Saline, Perry and Faulkner counties.

Major Industry

Government, higher education, health care

Military Bases

Little Rock Air Force Base, 5,257 military, 432 civilian (2009)

Cities

Little Rock, 193,524; North Little Rock, 62,304; Conway, 58,908

notable

Little Rock Air Force Base has the largest C-130 training and airlift facility in the world.

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