Next Year's Ballot May Feature Familiar Names - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Region 8 -- Heather Flanigan Reports

Next Year's Ballot May Feature Familiar Names

June 15, 2005 – Posted at 4:39 p.m. CDT, updated at 7:27 a.m. on June 16

REGION 8 -- It's not even an election year, and already the politicians are jockeying for position.

If all goes well, some familiar faces could fill the top four positions in the Arkansas State Government.

Northeast Arkansas natives Dustin McDaniel, Mike Beebe, Tim Wooldridge and Don House are all looking for your vote, and they're all running for statewide offices.

“You would think characteristically there would be some sort of geographic advantage. The truth of the matter is with these guys, it says what kind of folks we've been electing to the legislature,” said political analyst Gary Harpole.

“Maybe it is our time and maybe it's just an unique irony,” said Wooldridge, a state Senator from Paragould.

“I think it just happened that way, but I think that Northeast Arkansas had the potential of producing some very good candidates,” said House, a former state Represenative from Walnut Ridge.

Term limits are the reason House and Wooldridge will be running for State Treasurer and Lt. Governor,  respectively.

“I think that what your are going to find is that all these guys are going to have a statewide vision and they are going to carry a burden for all the people of Arkansas,” said Harpole.

Beebe, a Jackson County native, is making his bid for Governor and freshman representative Dustin McDaniel of Jonesboro is expected to throw his hat in the ring for the Attorney General's office.

“It's not uncommon to have a lot of people on a ticket from the same part of the state. It's just been a while since they have been from Northeast Arkansas,” said McDaniel.

“I think it's going to be an exciting political year,” said Harpole, “We literally have announcements coming a year before the primary. There is a tremendous amount of money being raised in all of these offices.”

And while this is a first for Region 8, it's also interesting to note, all these candidates are Democrats.

On the GOP side, Trumann native Jim Lagrone is also a candidate for Lieutenant Governor.

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