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Front of Walmart Visitor Center in Bentonville, AR during the daytime
Walmart Visitor Center in Bentonville, Arkansas (Walmart/CC BY 2.0)

Arkansas and Kentucky are both holding primaries today. Here's a look at the key races in both states. Feel free to post your predictions in comments!

AR-01 (D): Three Democrats are vying to take on GOP freshman Rick Crawford: state Rep. Clark Hall, prosecutor Scott Ellington and former econ prof Gary Latanich. Hall has raised the most money by far and was endorsed by the Blue Dogs, but Ellington has some name recognition thanks to brokering a plea agreement in the controversial and high-profile West Memphis 3 murder case. Latanich is the most liberal candidate in the race and is likely the third wheel, but if he pulls enough votes, he could send Ellington and Hall into a runoff. There hasn't been any public polling.

AR-04 (D): There's also a field of three Democrats here who are trying to keep this very red seat in Team Blue's hands after Rep. Mike Ross's unexpected retirement announcement: state Sen. Gene Jeffress, attorney Q. Byrum Hurst and 2010 Senate candidate D.C. Morrison. Jeffress, until recently, has run a mostly invisible campaign (or as commenter GradyDem put it, "an 1870s campaign"), while Hurst jumped out to lead the pack in fundraising. He's also the only candidate to air TV ads. A recent Talk Business poll suggested that Jeffress and Hurst were likely to head to a runoff.

AR-04 (R): Republicans are pretty much down to a two-way race between Iraq vet Tom Cotton and former Miss Arkansas Beth Anne Rankin, who was the GOP nominee last cycle. Cotton's demolished Rankin in fundraising, pulling in an impressive million bucks to her $400K. He also seems to be the establishment favorite here (the NRCC has put him on their "Young Guns" list). Talk Business also polled this contest and found Cotton pulling away with a 51-33 lead after previously finding the race tied. If those results are accurate, Cotton could avoid a runoff.

KY-04 (R): When Republican Rep. Geoff Davis announced his retirement last December, it was a virtual certainty that local GOP officeholders would emerge with great speed from to vie for the right to represent this safely Republican seat. Seven Republicans did indeed file with the Secretary of State, but the race is widely considered to be a three-way contest between Lewis County Judge-Executive Thomas Massie, Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore and state Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington.

Moore would seem to have an advantage in terms of his power base (Boone County is about eight times bigger than Lewis), but Massie, a tea party-backed Paulist disciple, is riding an endorsement from Sen. Rand Paul—as well as a flood of outside spending. (Amusingly, most of that spending is coming from a single source: a 21 year-old college Republican from Texas whose banker grandfather left him with an apparently enormous inheritance.) The local GOP establishment, whose first choice appears to be Webb-Edgington (both Davis and ex-Sen. Jim Bunning have endorsed her), appear utterly incensed at the prospect of losing another primary to a Paulist (as they did in KY-Sen last cycle), so I guess that's reason enough to hope that Massie wins. (James L)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue May 22, 2012 at 11:17 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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