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Hendren pumps $200,000 into campaign

State Sen. Kim Hendren, R-Gravette, says he has loaned $200,000 to his campaign for U.S. Senate.

“I intend to raise the campaign funds for this race, but I wanted to show my fellow Arkansans that I am fully committed to being Arkansas’ next U.S. senator,” Hendren said in announcing the loan today.

Hendren is one of eight Republicans seeking their party’s nomination to challenge Democratic incumbent Blanche Lincoln next year. His announcement comes five days after former Arkansas Farm Bureau President Stanley Reed of Marianna announced his entry into the GOP field.

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Poll: Snyder’s approval rating 42 percent

A new poll suggests U.S. Rep Vic Snyder could face a tough re-election fight next year.

Raleigh, N.C.-based Public Policy Polling’s survey of 400 voters in Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District found that 42 percent approve of Snyder’s job performance, compared to 46 percent who disapprove.

The poll also showed the Democratic incumbent leading three potential Republican opponents by only slight margins — margins that are smaller than the poll’s 4.9 percent margin of error.

Snyder, first elected to the U.S. House in 1996, did not draw a Republican challenger in 2008.

Other statistics from the poll: 54 percent of voters in Snyder’s district disapprove of the job congressional Democrats are doing; 52 percent disapprove of Barack Obama’s job performance; 50 percent say congressional Democrats are too liberal; and 55 percent say they’re opposed to the health care bill the House passed last week with Snyder’s support.

“Snyder seems to be bearing the brunt of a lot of animosity toward national Democrats in his district,” the pollsters said in their report on the results.

Not all Democrats fared poorly, however. The poll showed that 70 percent of voters in the 2nd Congressional District approve of Gov. Mike Beebe’s job performance, compared to 20 percent who disapprove.

The telephone poll was conducted Nov. 11-13.

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It’s a boy

Conway businessman Conrad Reynolds, a candidate for the GOP nomination to challenge U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln next year, is a father again.

Reynolds’ wife, Rufiya, gave birth to Austin Robert Reynolds at 1:24 p.m. today at Conway Regional Medical Center, according to a release from Reynolds’ campaign. Austin’s birth weight was 8 pounds.

This is the fourth child for Reynolds. He also has a 17-month-old daughter and an adult son and daughter.

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Senate hopeful ‘disappointed’ with Baker

Conrad Reynolds, a Republican hopeful for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Blanche Lincoln, tells Jason Tolbert he is “disappointed” that state Sen. Gilbert Baker, a fellow Conway resident, has entered the race after telling Reynolds he didn’t want the job.

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Baker challenge remarkable

State Senate Republican Gilbert Baker’s entry into Arkansas’ U.S. Senate race today was a remarkable development in Washington.

Dueling Senate campaign fundraising committees rushed out scathing remarks against the other party’s candidate as if the 2010 general election, more than a year away, was already set.

Spokeswoman Amber Wilkerson of the National Republican Senatorial Committee had this to say about Lincoln:

“Today’s announcement by Gilbert Baker is another indication that Blanche Lincoln is facing an uphill battle in her quest for re-election in 2010.

“The growing field of Republican and Democrat challengers in Arkansas demonstrates Lincoln’s vulnerability, thanks in great part to her record in support of the Obama tax and spend agenda, including the massive stimulus bill, pork-laden omnibus and bloated budget.

“Lincoln has failed to lead on critical issues such as health care and card check, and has instead resisted taking positions entirely in order to preserve has own political future. As her sagging poll numbers indicate, Blanche Lincoln has lost touch with the people of Arkansas, and she will be forced to answer for her record next November.”

And this from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee:

“Gilbert Baker joins a crowded cast of characters better suited for a sitcom than for elected office.

“As Baker’s record comes under close examination, the people of Arkansas will find a Little Rock insider who repeatedly puts his own self-interest above those he has pledged to serve.

“He has never met a pork project he doesn’t like and will have to answer for his endless spending in Little Rock.”

Baker is among a half-dozen Republicans who have announced plans to seek the GOP nomination to challenge Lincoln next year.

Lincoln, a two-term U.S. Senate incumbent, could face a Democratic primary challenge from current state Senate President Pro Tem Bob Johnson of Bigelow.

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Medley to run for state Senate

State Rep. Jim Medley, R-Fort Smith, announced today he will run for the state Senate seat now held by the term-limited Denny Altes, who is running for the state House.

Medley has served three two-year terms in the House. He is the CEO of the nonprofit Area Agency on Aging and a former member of the Fort Smith Board of Education and the Board of Directors of the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce.

“Rep. Jim Medley’s extensive knowledge of governmental processes, service to the citizens of Fort Smith, and passionate concern for the future of the state of Arkansas is the foundation Jim is prepared to bring to Arkansas state Senate District 13,” a news release from Medley’s campaign states.

Former Republican state Rep. Jake Files and Rep. Frank Glidewell, R-Fort Smith, have also said they will run for the District 13 Senate seat.

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Hutchinson to run for state Senate

Former Republican state Rep. Jeremy Hutchinson of Little Rock tells blogger Jason Tolbert he will run for the Distrct 22 seat in the state Senate, now held by the term-limited Democrat Shane Broadway of Bryant.

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Baker to run for state Supreme Court

Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge Karen Baker of Clinton says she plans to run for the state Supreme Court vacated by Justice Tom Glaze.

Baker joins Court of Appeals Judge Courtney Henry of Fayetteville and Crittenden County  Circuit Judge John Fogleman as announced candidates for the seat.

Baker issued a news release today announcing her candidacy.

Justice Elana Wills, who was named by Gov. Mike Beebe to complete Glaze’s term, cannot run for the position.

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Republican Meeks may challenge Snyder

Republican David Meeks has formed an exploratory committee and Web site to gauge a possible race against Rep. Vic Snyder, D-Little Rock, for Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District seat.

Meeks, of Conway, formed the Web site whoisdavidmeeks.com to allow people to “find out who I am, what I believe, and how to get involved in the campaign,” the site states. The Web site also provides links to Meeks’ Facebook page and Twitter account, as well as information about his positions on various issues, upcoming events and ways to volunteer.

He is scheduled to speak today at 11:30 a.m. at a meeting of the Faulkner County Republican Women.

Meeks would be vying for the seat Snyder has held since 1997. Snyder, responding to rumors that he may not be seeking re-election, has stated definitively that he intends to run in 2010.

Snyder has been criticized in ads by the National Republican Congressional Committee for his vote to block an investigation into when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., learned about waterboarding by the CIA.

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Conway eye doctor announces House run

Conway ophthalmologist Steve Magie says he hopes to succeed the term-limited Robbie Wills in the state House.

Magie says he will kick off his campaign for the Democratic nomination for House District 46 at 5 p.m. today at Centennial Country Club in Conway.

“I believe Conway is one of the best places in Arkansas to live and raise a family because of the shared values of this community,” Magie said in a statement. “I will demonstrate those values of hard work and straightforward respect to continue the exemplary representation of our area has had under Speaker Wills.”

Magie maintains offices in Conway, Little Rock and Fort Smith.

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