on the political realignment of Bill Clinton's home state
Four years ago, Arkansas Democrats held every constitutional office, all but one seat in the state's congressional delegation and a seemingly untouchable majority in the Legislature.
How things have changed.
The state GOP party built on major gains in 2010, when Republican John Boozman knocked off Democratic U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Republicans nabbed four constitutional offices. In 2012, voters threw their support behind the Republican Party, giving the GOP its first majority in the Legislature since Reconstruction and electing only Republicans to represent Arkansas in in the U.S. House.
The remarkable rise of the Republican Party in Arkansas — and the corresponding plummet of Democratic Party control in the state — was voted the top story in 2012 in Arkansas by Associated Press members.
Throughout the 2012 election cycle, Republicans pledged to make major gains in the Legislature, where Democrats have had control for 138 years.
"That's a clear choice for Arkansans," state Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb said in the final days before the November election. "The Democrats are enablers of the policies of Barack Obama and the Republicans will fight those intrusive policies."
In the general election, Republicans grabbed a 21-14 majority in the Senate and a 51-48 majority in the House, with one Green Party member.
On the federal level, Arkansans re-elected Republicans Rick Crawford, Tim Griffin and Steve Womack to the U.S. House and picked Republican Tom Cotton to represent the 4th Congressional District, which was open after Democrat U.S. Mike Ross announced he wouldn't run for re-election.
The election left U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor as the lone Democrat in Arkansas' congressional delegation.
Prior's seat is up in 2014.