Rick Crawford, a Jonesboro businessman and radio broadcaster, announced in April that he was considering a 2010 challenge to Democratic Rep. Marion Berry in Arkansas’ First District. Crawford, a Republican, has been making the rounds speaking at events and talking to potential supporters, and while his campaign is formally in the “exploratory” phase, he looks like a lock to jump in to the race.
So hey, why not get to know Crawford better with a friendly Arkansas Project Q&A? Let us begin:
You announced your intention to run in 2010 (or at least that you were looking at the race) in April 2009. Why so early?
I perceived an almost immediate sense of dissatisfaction among the people of the First District as the new administration took control of the federal government with respect to plans and policies that don’t reflect our values, i.e. corporate bailouts, the stimulus package, a $3.5 trillion budget, government intervention into private industry, etc. More recently I’ve seen and heard a tremendous pushback against policies like card check, universal health care, etc. People in Arkansas’ First District want leadership that reflects their values, and I believe we’ve waited long enough for that leadership.
What stage is your (potential) campaign in at this point? What have you been up to so far?
We’re in the early stage of communicating a message that we believe will resonate with voters at the grassroots level. Fundraising efforts are ongoing as well.
You’re probably still formulating ideas for a campaign platform, but what is the basic message you’ve been carrying to people in the First District when you talk about your candidacy?
Across the board, we’re hearing a lot of genuine concern about our economic policies and the lack of fiscal responsibility in Washington at virtually every level. We are going to address that issue heavily and a couple of others that have come up consistently, which are health care and energy policy. We all know that farm policy is a key concern in the First District for obvious reasons, so we’ll present some solid ideas for workable solutions to the challenges facing farmers across the District, which my background in the ag industry is well suited for. I will also address issues that are of concern to my fellow veterans. Bottom line, if we can’t get our economic policies right, everyone is negatively affected, so we’ll being paying a lot of attention to fiscal discipline.
What are the biggest challenges for you in this race?
Conventional wisdom says that incumbents are difficult to unseat. That said, we’ve got some extraneous factors on our side that I think will come into play heavily as this campaign develops. We saw a similar phenomenon unfold in 1994 and I think the stakes are much higher at this point in time.
How have people responded to your (potential) candidacy? What are you hearing around the district?
I am extremely encouraged by the support we’ve received thus far. Our base is more galvanized than we’ve seen in quite some time. We’re reaching out to conservatives regardless of their political affiliation and the response to this point has been very favorable.