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Bill Halter Eyeing Arkansas Congressional Race

Former Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (D) is pondering a bid to take on Rep. Tim Griffin (R) in the state’s 2nd district, according to a Democratic source in Little Rock.

Halter spokesman Bud Jackson didn’t deny that Halter might be considering a run, but said he remains focused on other things. “The only thing he is pondering is what he has to do for work and what time he’ll be having dinner with Shanti and his girls,” Jackson said in a statement.

He added: “There are better things for political insiders to focus on in August, like when the next barbeque is and who’s bringing the beer.”

Halter took on then-Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the 2010 Democratic primary. With the help of national liberal interest groups, he raised more than $4.2 million during his short campaign.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is making a hard push to recruit in the Razorback State, where the party lost two seats last cycle and where the only remaining Democrat, Rep. Mike Ross, is retiring. DCCC Recruitment Chairwoman Allyson Schwartz (Pa.) went to Arkansas Thursday to search for possible candidates, Roll Call has learned, though it is unclear if she met with Halter.

A source familiar with Schwartz’s Arkansas trip said it was planned well before Ross announced he was retiring. Initially it was more about recruiting candidates in the 1st, represented by Rep. Rick Crawford, and 2nd, represented by Griffin. But Schwartz also talked with potential candidates in Ross’s open 4th district seat, as well as potential candidates in Mississippi’s 1st district and Tennessee’s 8th district.

A spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee scoffed at the idea of Democrats winning seats next year in Arkansas, where President Barack Obama took just 39 percent in 2008.

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