ARKANSAS 6 Electoral Votes

Bush-Cheney '04 Arkansas Director Mitchell Lowe cites several factors in President Bush's Arkansas victory.  First, he states, "President Bush's values were more closely aligned with those of the people of Arkansas."  Next he points to a campaign that started early and focused on the nuts and bolts of voter ID and voter registration.  Lowe was brought on board November 1, 2003, and by the end of the month the Bush campaign had a steering committee in place.  It had co-chairs in every county by the end of January 2004.  In March the campaign was already phone banking and working to build lists.  Each county had a goal and the campaign pushed the county leaders to achieve their goals.  There was structure and accountability.  The network of volunteers grew.  Gov. Mike Huckabee actively campaigned for Bush.  By September the position appeared solid enough that several staffers were dispatched to work in Colorado.  "Everything was working towards the last two weeks," Lowe states.  Early voting started on October 18, and the campaign wanted to get a high percentage of its voters out in the early voting period.  Each morning volunteers went to the county clerk offices around the state; by the afternoon a pared down list would be ready, and supporters started making calls.  "Every day the list would just get smaller and smaller," said Lowe.

With the exception of Sen. Kerry at the top of the ticket, Democrats fared well in Arkansas. The leading vote getter among candidates was Sen. Blanche Lambert Lincoln (D); in her re-election effort she gained 580,973 votes (compared to 572,898 for Bush and 469,953 for Kerry).  Democrats also re-elected their three congressmen, picked up a couple of State House seats to increase their majority to 72 to 28, and held even in the State Senate.  While Democrats' field organization mobilized their base, there was also some turmoil in the state Republican Party.  At mid-year state Democrats claimed that, "The Republican Party of Arkansas is in disarray, in debt and ill-prepared to coordinate activities because of legal problems with the FEC."

Sen. Kerry's Massachusetts background was a disadvantage here as was his diffuse message and the fact that he did not visit the state after May.  The presence of the gay marriage measure, Proposed Constitutional Amendment 3, on the ballot did not help Kerry either.  Amendment 3 garnered the largest number of votes of anything on the ballot: 753,770 votes or just shy of 75 percent.  The Kerry campaign had planned to run advertising in the fall but decided against it when poll numbers were not encouraging.

Democrats sought to make a late push at the end.  The absence of national advertising prompted the Democratic Party of Arkansas to launch its own effort; in about two weeks it raised about $130,000 to run an independent ad campaign. Radio ads featuring Gen. Wesley Clark (ret.), former Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater, and former Senator and governor Dale Bumpers ran starting October 20; one featuring former President Bill Clinton started airing October 25.  On October 28 the DNC announced a $250,000 ad buy, to run in the Little Rock, Fort Smith and Jonesboro.  527 groups weighed in.  Win Back Respect ran late TV ads, and The Media Fund ran ads on radio.  Slater [Oct. 22 in Little Rock], Academy Award winning actress Mary Steenburgen [Oct. 23 in Little Rock], and Wesley Clark [Oct. 27 in No. Little Rock] were among those stumping for Kerry.  The grand finale was left to former President Clinton, who headlined a rally at the Statehouse Convention Center on October 31 (after earlier touring his library); Clinton also recorded several calls that went to voters in the last days of the campaign.  On the Republican side, the Arkansas Leadership Committee aired some late radio ads.
Bush-Cheney '04 Kerry-Edwards 2004
Organization details...  details...
BC'04 State Chair: Gov. Mike Huckabee
Exec. Director: Mitchell Lowe
Comm. Director: Brandy Cox
Office: 513 Center Street, Little Rock (The Atrium Building)

Arkansas Leadership Committee
Executive Director: Clint Reed

Republican Party of Arkansas
State Chair: Win Rockefeller
Exec. Director: Marie Holder
Office: 1201 W. 6th St., Little Rock

KE State Director: Rodney E. Shelton
Comm. Director: John Emekli
Office: 301 S. Victory, Little Rock

Arkansas Democratic Party
State Chair: Ron Oliver
Exec. Director/Victory 2004 Director: Michael Cook
Office: 1300 West Capitol Avenue, Little Rock

Travel  compare...
Final Month (Oct. 2-Nov. 2, 2004)
George W. Bush - 0 visits 
Dick Cheney (and Lynne Cheney) - 0 visits
Laura Bush (solo) - 0 visits 
John Kerry - 0 visits
John Edwards -  0 visits 
Teresa Heinz Kerry (solo) - 0 visits
Elizabeth Edwards (solo) -  0 visits 
Eight Months (March 2-Nov. 2, 2004)
George W. Bush - 2 visits (2 days)
Dick Cheney (and Lynne Cheney) - 4 visits (4 days)
Laura Bush (solo) - 0 visits 
Lynne Cheney (solo) - 1 visit (1 day)
John Kerry - 1 visits (2 days)
John Edwards - 2 visits (2 days)
Teresa Heinz Kerry (solo) - 0 visits 
Elizabeth Edwards (solo) - 1  visit (1 day)

Newspaper Endorsements
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 
Southwest Times Record (Fort Smith)
Arkansas Times  (10/21/04)  ...weekly

Third Party and Independent
Nader Ballot Access
Nader filed petitions in August.  The Arkansas Democratic Party brought suit in Pulaski District Court challenging the validity of the petitions, and on September 20 Judge Timothy Fox ruled in the Democrats' favor.  Nader appealed.  In a 4-3 decision on October 1, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled Nader and Camejo should appear on the ballot as candidates of the Populist Party of Arkansas.

State Coordinators
Nader: Jim Macri
Badnarik: Mark Nuckles
Cobb: Donna Werley

Candidate Visits
June 18, 2004
-Speaks and holds a press conference at the Capital Hotel in Little Rock, AR.

July 29, 2004
-Submits petition to appear on the ballot at the secretary of state's office; speaks to a group at Holiday Inn in Little Rock, AR.

September 27, 2004
-On her "Left Out Tour" Pat LaMarche overnights at the Salvation Army Shelter in Fayetteville, AR.

July 31, 2004
-David Cobb helps gather petition signatures at River Market farmer's market; lunches with ten Arkansas Greens at Wild Oats Market; and holds a news conference on the
steps of the State Capitol to announce that the Green Party has turned in almost twice the number of signatures required, in Little Rock, AR.

Copyright ©  2004, 2005  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.

The 2004 Campaign on the Web--Arkansas 11/04/04
Republican Party of AR
Democratic Party of AR
AR Libertarian Party
Green Party of AR
Constitution Party of AR
Jim Holt (R)
Blanche Lincoln (D)