All right. Since I’m not columnizing on this for tomorrow’s paper, let me blog here on the latest I’ve got on Bill Halter’s withdrawal from the Democratic governor’s race — or, specifically, whether he now runs for Congress from the 2nd district against Tim Griffin.
The Democratic Congressional Committee, in courting him lately, has told Halter that it has discovered a significant number of unregistered likely Democratic voters in the district, and that, if he runs against Griffin, his race will be one of the three or four top priorities of the DCCC in terms of money and other assets.
It’s 50-50 whether he does it, I’ve been told. What he intends to do now is sit back and look for signals about how fervently Democrats want him to make the race.
His greater interest is running against U.S. Sen. John Boozman in 2016, but the best way to earn Democratic good will for that is to do this Second District work this time, win or lose.
Will he look opportunistic abandoning governor to go for Congress with the Senate really on his mind? Here’s what one Democrat told me: No more than Tom Cotton. Or Mike Ross, for that matter.
Meantime, a Republican insider tweets to me: “Very bad day for Asa.”
Indeed, Asa Hutchinson’s Democratic opponent just got spared $3 million in primary expenses. Meantime, Asa is vulnerable to being pulled untenably to the Tea Party right by primary opponent Deborah Hobbs.
In fact, I’m told Republican legislators attending the Southern Legislative Conference in Mobile caucused today to discuss a bolder conservative agenda for Hutchinson than this little drawdown of the income tax rates.
UPDATE: What Halter wants more than anything else is a party-cleared road to be the Democratic nominee against Boozman in 2016. To that end, he is seeking meeting with Majority Leader Harry Reid to try to make up with Reid who is irked about Halter’s running against Blanche Lincoln in 2010. Halter apparently also has invoked the idea of running for Congress in the 4th District, but that”s Blue Dog territory and the DCCC wants him in the 2nd. To be clear: Griffin will be difficult to beat. But this is a 2nd District that Vic Snyder represented until three years ago, and Pulaski is a Democratic central anchor.