Democratic Party of Arkansas
|Chairperson||Michael John Gray|
|Senate leader||Keith Ingram|
|House leader||Michael John Gray|
|Headquarters||William A. Gwatney Democratic Headquarters
1300 W Capitol Avenue
Little Rock, AR 72201
|National affiliation||Democratic Party|
|Seats in the Upper House||
11 / 35
|Seats in the Lower House||
36 / 100
The Democratic Party of Arkansas is the affiliate of the Democratic Party in the state of Arkansas. It is responsible for promoting the ideologies and core values of the national Democratic Party in Arkansas.
Before Arkansas became a state on June 15, 1836, its politics was dominated by a small group commonly called "The Family" or "The Dynasty" until the American Civil War. The founder of this party was James Conway, who was inspired by the death of his older brother, Henry Conway. Henry Conway was killed in a duel, that took place on October 27, 1827, by Robert Crittenden, former friend, that soon became his political opposition. In an act to avenge his brother's death, he formed the first political party of Arkansas, "The Dynasty". Many of the members in this group were related by either blood or marriage, and thus how it received the name, "The Family". This group was closely allied with former President Andrew Jackson.
Arkansas began its statehood with a strong Democratic dominance in politics. The Democratic Party won every election for governor until 1966, when Republican Winthrop Rockefeller won Governorship. Although the Democratic Party of Arkansas is not as dominant as it once was, it still has a strong presence in the state. However, that began to change in the early 2010s.
With the election of Barack Obama as President and the leftward shift of the national Democratic Party, Arkansas Democrats have seen their influence gradually decline. While Arkansas was able to resist the rise of the Republican Party throughout the rest of the South (partially thanks to Bill Clinton), it could not hold off forever. The Republicans began to make serious inroads in 2010, and it continued until it finally in 2014, when Republicans captured all the statewide offices, both chambers of the state legislature, all the U.S House seats and both U.S Senate seats, putting the Democrats in the minority for the first time in state history.
Current elected officials
Members of Congress
Democrat Governors won the Gubernatorial elections in the State of Arkansas since 1941:
- Homer Martin Adkins (1941-1945)
- Benjamin Travis Laney (1945-1949)
- Sidney Sanders McMath (1949-1953)
- Francis Cherry (1953-1955)
- Orval Eugene Faubus (1955-1967)
- Dale Bumpers (1971-1975)
- David Pryor (1975-1979)
- Joe Purcell (1979)
- Bill Clinton (1979-1981, 1983-1992)
- Jim Guy Tucker (1992-1996)
- Mike Beebe (2007-2015)
|This section relies too much on references to primary sources. (November 2011) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
The Democratic Party of Arkansas has a platform standing on the following principles: law and order with justice, every citizen, regardless of religion or race, is entitled to an equal voice in government. Also, it advocates equal opportunity, fairness and justice, and progressiveness. It not only promotes these standards, but also takes action to achieve them. With these principles comes a list of 52 rules. The platform is filled with values such as ethics, education, economic development and opportunity, agriculture, transportation and infrastructure, environment and energy, health care, social security/medicaid/medicare, taxes, military/veterans and nation's security, criminal justice, civil rights and civil liberties, and public service. Its position on these topics mirrors closely that of the national Democratic Party.
In 1978, then attorney general, Bill Clinton and wife Hillary Clinton were accused of being a part of a scandal with former friends and business partners, James McDougal and his wife, Susan McDougal. The couples planned on buying land in Marion County, Arkansas to build vacation homes for tourists, and those that just wanted to get away. However, the investment went bad, and both couples lost a numerous amount of money due to its failure. While Clinton was governor of Arkansas, questions about whether or not they properly paid taxes on the property, whether he extended favors to the loan and savings in exchange for campaign funds and whether McDougal may have illegally channeled funds from the savings and loans to the project arose. After charges were dropped against the Clintons, David Hale claimed that Clinton pressured him into giving them a $300,000 loan to finance the project.
- Democratic Party, The Encyclopedia of Arkansas history and culture.
- . "The Family", The Encyclopedia of Arkansas history and culture.
- White, Lonnie J. Politics on the Southwestern Frontier: Arkansas Territory, 1819-1836,. Memphis: Memphis State UP, 1964. Print.
- Moore, Waddy William. Arkansas in the Gilded Age, 1874-1900. Little Rock, AR: Rose Pub., 1976. Print.
- List of Governors of Arkansas
- Party platform