Arkansas Republicans

Griffin Senate Tease Continues! (Updated!)

Tim Griffin
Tim Griffin

The AP’s Andrew Demillo ventures deep into Arkansas GOP territory to attend the Saline County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner—and lives to tell the tale!

Speaking at the dinner was Tim Griffin, former U.S. Attorney for Eastern District of Arkansas who’s been testing the waters on a potential challenge to Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln for months now. Any announcement from Griffin Friday night? No.

Thought experiment: As far as this extended tease goes….Is Griffin serious about running for the Senate seat? Or is he “exploring” a run to test the feasibility before he “suddenly” decides to drop down to a lower level race and, oh, say, challenge Democratic Rep. Vic Snyder for the Second District House seat? Discuss! It’s an interesting idea, and I throw it out there because others have asked me about it, but I don’t know that anything like that’s ever been tried before. (*cough*Bill Halter!*cough)

Other attendees at the dinner included state Sen. Kim Hendren, who announced last week his intent to challenge Lincoln, and Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman, who’s apparently mulling a run even though not a single person outside his own family has ever heard of him. No sign of state Sen. Gilbert Baker, who columnist David Sanders assures me is out of the running hasn’t made up his mind yet, he tells the Conway Log Cabin Democrat in a story this morning.

On Monday The Arkansas Project rounded up all the news to date on the 2010 Senate race in this marvelous post.

UPDATE: Columnist David Sanders examines Hendren’s candidacy, with this:

The upside to a Hendren candidacy is that he’s full of surprises. In addition to being affable, animated, and funny, he will say just about anything to get his point across. And, for that reason alone, potential Republican opponents wouldn’t have an easy time trying to pin him down. He is a moving target. And, if he emerged victorious from the Republican primary, he’d give those of us in this business plenty to write about.

But his upside also has a downside. Hendren’s unpredictability stems from his lacking self discipline. It’s hard to imagine him sticking to a script day in, day out. The campaign trail will only magnify his affinity for dining on his foot.

Meanwhile, Demillo comes back with an AP analysis piece looking at how a possible GOP Senate primary may expose fault lines amongst party factions.

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9 thoughts on “Griffin Senate Tease Continues! (Updated!)

  • Bill from Sheridan

    Tim needs to either get in this race or get out. Basically this little teasing job he’s been running for last few months is serving as a preview for what his candidacy would be an annoying side show. If he runs he’s a nonfactor.

  • Arkstfan

    I thought Vic had almost nothing in the bank. Is he even running?

  • David Kinkade

    Unless and until Snyder says he’s out, he’s in. That goes against the wishful thinking of any number of central Arkansas Republicans and Democratic wanna-be heirs apparent, I know, but he hasn’t said anything about retiring as of now. I assume he’s in until then.

    His cash situation is a little deceptive. He always makes a big show about not accepting any campaign contribution checks until 90 days before the primary, so he won’t show much of a balance until then.

  • Griffin is in

    Looks like that Arkansas Truth blog is running again, sort of. That thing is run by R. Stuart Jones in DC. Jones is a close alley of Griffin. If is Jones bloging it will be to support his friend Tim Griffin.

  • I didn’t think that Tim had much of a chance, but if R. Stuart is throwing in him behind, I may have to rethink my position. R. Stuart is one of the bright political thinkers of his generation. If one underestimates him, he/she does so at his/her own peril. Tim may make a real run at this thing!

  • Barbara

    No one should underestimate Tim Griffin. He has a bona fide political history, and is well connected. Without any calculation, he could probably raise $1 million on his contact list alone. He is one bright political talent.

    Time is on Tim’s side right now. He got out there early. Moreover, Hendren has backed off his early “sure thing” recently.

    I’m not supporting either one, yet. But the future is bright with folks like this in the GOP Senate race.

    I don’t see Tim dropping down into a US House race, particularly with “I never take money more than 90 days before I say I’ll take money” Snyder. Snyder’s in; he can’t get better healthcare, benefits, or political clout anywhere else in the world.

    Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s remember that Vic will surely take another one of his “principled stands” when he votes against the other 434 members of the House on some nonsense resolution or bill that will pass without his vote. He can play that fiddle all he wants, but his cynical ploys shouldn’t merit any plaudits in Arkansas.

  • Bill from Sheridan


    How exactly is Tim going to raise this $1 million with his “contacts”? That’s a lot of money and Tim has no base in this state to draw from. Tim’s claim to fame in D.C. is that he worked for the worst adminstration since Franklin Pierce. No one in D.C. is going to get excited about that. Nor would any big out of state money get fired up about giving in a primary. Here in Arkansas Tim is a total unknown expect that some folks know he conspired to get Bud Cummins fired. None of that puts him on real sure fundraising footing.

    Tim seems like a good man and he seems pretty sharp too but this Senate run would be a bridge too far. I don’t see how Tim could win the Primary and there is no way he could beat Blance.

  • Fourche River Rex

    I don’t think we can discount Tim’s political acumen. He may have been a couple of notches down from the top of the Totem, but I’d wager that he had inherently good political skills or he wouldn’t have made it as far up the pole as he did (insert phallus joke here).
    My theory (and I hope it pans out to be true) is that Tim is a political water witch. That he can see what lies beneath the surface. I think he has an inkling that the voting public will revolt against Obama during the mid-term elections, much the same way that they did against Clinton. I think Tim is trying to be like another Tim: Hendren’s own brother-in-law, Tim Hutchinson. Tim Griffin is going to ride the wave of public discontent into office.
    Again, I just don’t think Hendren is electable. He is at least bombastic and at most caustic. The Hutchinsons as in-laws connection isn’t going to matter to most Republican voters. I mean, how many people dislike their in-laws? A connection by marriage doesn’t mean you share the same ideals and values. After all, I remember an episode where Hendren made a comment to the paper about Asa, during Asa’s run for Gubernator, that cause Asa quite a lot consternation and difficulty. I think it shows quite a bit about the noble character of Asa Hutchinson that he has forgotten that and is talking up Hendren’s run. Asa was always a stand up guy, though.
    Finally, maybe I’m totally out of the loop on the RPA gossip and all, but whatever happened to Deena Burnett? I thought the talk was that once she got her kids a little older, she was going to run for Senate? Was that all a pipe dream? I think that would be an interesting race. From what I have seen, she can give a speech, she has plenty of money and has a compelling story. Any idea what happened there? I guess the lesson to gather from such rumors is as old as antiquity:
    “Ex lingua stulta veniunt incommoda multa.”

  • Run Baby Run

    Personally, I think people like Tim Griffin, Tom Cotton, R. Stuart Jones, Michael Lamoureux, Dan Greenberg, Elizabeth Aymond, and others I am forgetting are the very kind of people we need to run. Some will make great candidates and some will not. One thing is for sure, the status quo ain’t cutting it.

    If you can David, it would be great to do a blog on future GOP candidates under 40.


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