When someone sees a sign or advertisement for Rep. Tom Cotton or Asa Hutchinson they might not realize who's behind the slogan or message.
A key figure in any campaign is a political consultant. It is their duty to help craft a campaign's message to the public and ensure it is received positively.
5NEWS Managing Editor Larry Henry had the chance to sit down with GOP political consultant Keith Emis of Diamond State Consulting to discuss the 2014 political season.
Henry explained that a large area of focus in the races are the campaign contributions each candidate is getting. While this is a major factor in deciding a winner, Emis points out it is not always the political game changer.
For example, Emis said in 2010 when incumbent Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln took on John Boozman, a Republican, she raised $9 million compared to Boozman's $2.5 million and still lost by a 21 point margin.
Emis says the problem many candidates will face is having the wrong message and says that will play into 2014 races. Emis said he expects the gap in Republican Cotton's poll numbers to narrow as he becomes better known across the state. The news comes despite a recent PPP Poll that puts Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor in the lead 44%-41% in the race for Pryor's Senate seat.
Emis discredited the poll numbers saying PPP is "arm and arm with the Democratic Party."
The poll comes amid the government shutdown coming to an end, an issue which Emis said will likely not play as high of a role in 2014 as the Affordable Care Act will. The political consultant told 5NEWS that he anticipates Obamacare will be what decides the Cotton/Pryor race.
As for the 2014 governor's race, Emis anticipates discussion over fundraising among the candidates is being used as a tactic to distract from bad poll numbers. In the most recent 2014 gubernatorial race poll conducted by Talk Business, Hutchinson leads Democrat Mike Ross 41%-37%. Ross is leading Hutchinson is fundraising efforts, but Emis discredited this saying Hutchinson already has more raised than current Gov. Mike Beebe did at the same time in his 2006 race.
Emis also anticipates the Affordable Care Act to play a significant factor in the 2014 election. He referenced a photo of Ross fist-bumping former Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York while celebrating a bill passing out of committee before the final version of Obamacare was approved.
Ross in an earlier interview with 5NEWS said the recent attacks on his campaign linking him to Obamacare are actually in reference to a vote that occurred eight months before the Affordable Care act became law.
Then a congressional representative, Ross said he held 84 town hall meetings before announcing in September 2009 that he would not be voting to support Obamacare. To defend this point, he challenged Arkansas voters to Google search the HR3590 roll call to see he was one of few Democrats to vote “no.”
Ross said he was also one of three Democrats to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
The 2014 Arkansas gubernatorial election will be held Nov. 4, 2014. Ross is running unopposed after Bill Halter and Dustin McDaniel dropped out of the race.
Republicans Curtis Coleman, Debra Hobbs and Hutchinson are seeking the GOP nomination for the 2014 race.