Arkansas: State Speaker May Run for Snyder’s House Seat

Posted January 20, 2010 at 6:42pm

Arkansas Speaker Robbie Wills (D) on Wednesday appeared poised to jump into the latest open-seat contest of the 2010 Congressional cycle.

In discussing the race to replace retiring Rep. Vic Snyder (D) in the Little Rock-based 2nd district, Wills acknowledged that he is “very excited about the opportunity.—

“I’m a legislator. This is our nation’s legislature. [Serving in Congress] would be a continuation of the work I’ve been doing as Speaker and as a [state] Representative,— he said.

Wills didn’t give a definite “yes— to the notion of a Congressional bid, but he did say: “I don’t know if I would be excited about not running. … I hope by Monday everything will be answered.—

Wills is one of several candidates that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reached out to in the wake of Snyder’s announcement. Others include former presidential candidate and retired Gen. Wesley Clark and Lt. Gov. Bill Halter.

Clark’s camp has confirmed that he is contemplating the possibility. Halter said a House bid is one of several options he is seriously considering.

Halter has also allowed his name to be floated as a possible primary challenger to Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D), a move that would create an expensive headache for national party officials in a seat that is already at the top of Senate Republican target lists this year.

Another Democrat whose name has been mentioned for Snyder’s seat is state Public Service Commissioner Paul Suskie, who came just 2 points shy of winning the Democratic nomination for attorney general in a 2006 primary runoff.

Suskie said Wednesday that he is “seriously considering— a Congressional run and will be making a decision “fairly soon.—

State Sen. Joyce Elliott (D) appears certain to run for the seat. Other potential Democratic candidates whose names have come up are Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola and state Sens. Shane Broadway and Bob Johnson.

Long before Snyder’s retirement announcement, state and national Republicans were solidly behind Little Rock attorney Tim Griffin, a former White House special assistant who also worked at the Republican National Committee. Griffin is expected to report more than $315,000 in cash on hand when he files his year-end fundraising report.