AR-01, -02: The same, but different

    The National Journal runs down the 60 most interesting congressional races of 2010. Not surprisingly, AR-02 and AR-01 are listed.

    AR-02:

    4. Arkansas-02 Open Seat (D) (Last ranking: 6)

    Bill Clinton is heading back to Arkansas this week in an attempt to again rescue Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D), but don’t expect his appearance for state Sen. Joyce Elliott (D) to work any miracles. This race is all but over.

    While it is possible that I overlooked a few, a quick glance at the other fifty-nine races on the list shows very few other contests where the author did not even mention one of the two candidates. When your race seems to be so clearly over that it becomes more relevant to point out that even Bill Clinton can’t help your chances than to reference, say, your opponent’s shady Rove-ian past, you are in a world of hurt.

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    Quick tangent: Today’s decision to bar the press from Pres. Clinton’s appearance on behalf of Elliott might just take the cake in the “what’s the worst thing we could do today” contest. Seriously, Elliott is (apparently) banking on the President’s cache to boost her numbers (read: try to keep this boat afloat); whomever made the decision to minimize the odds that voters will have any clue that Clinton campaigned for Elliott has no business making such decisions and isn’t fit to run a lemonade stand in the desert.

    Moving on…

    AR-01:

    20. Arkansas-01 Open Seat (D) (Last Ranking: 31)

    Rep. Marion Berry’s former chief of staff, Chad Causey (D), ran a strong primary campaign, but lately things haven’t gone his way. A recent poll shows agriculture broadcaster Rick Crawford (R) with a 16-point lead, and even Causey’s camp released a poll showing Crawford ahead (but by just 1 point). And both were taken after Crawford dealt with a negative story on his past bankruptcy. Advantage: Crawford.

    I think the article impliedly overstates the importance of Crawford “deal[ing] with a negative story on his past bankruptcy.” That story never got much traction, and to suggest that it somehow shows the strength of Crawford’s campaign that they were able to overcome that story is silly.

    At the same time, the author seems to read the polls the same way Arkansas Election Line did, and I would assume that their “Advantage: Crawford” is as soft as our “Leans Crawford” was. Which is to say, both can (and probably will) change in the coming weeks. Now that Causey has thrown the first punch, I am curious to see how Crawford responds.

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