LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Two Democrats made their bids for a pair of Republican-held congressional seats official Monday, and a Hot Springs attorney became the third Democrat to announce his candidacy for a south Arkansas district.

The field for the state Democratic Party’s bid to win back a majority of the state’s federal seats became clearer as the one-week filing period for state office continued.

State Rep. Clark Hall, D-Marvell, filed paperwork to run for the 1st District seat in east Arkansas held by freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford. Hall is one of two Democrats who have announced a campaign to challenge Crawford’s re-election bid.

“I’m frustrated and tired with what’s going on in Congress,” Hall told reporters after filing.

Arkansas State University economist Gary Latanich is expected to file papers to run for the Democratic nomination for the 1st District seat, and prosecutor Scott Ellington said Monday he’s still considering a run for the Democratic nomination there.

The 1st District is one of two U.S. House seats Democrats lost in the 2010 election. Democrats also hope to reclaim the 2nd District seat held by Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, with former state legislator Jay Martin expected to run.

Democrat Ken Aden filed to run for the 3rd District seat held by Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Womack. Aden, an Army veteran and the former director of a nonprofit organization, acknowledged he’s running in a historically Republican district but said he believed he could make inroads by appealing to parts of the northwest Arkansas district and voters frustrated with Washington.

“I think it’s going to be a major shifting, whether it’s this election or next election,” Aden said.

He isn’t expected to face a challenger in the May 22 primary.
The Democratic Primary for the south Arkansas congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Mike Ross also became more crowded Monday. Q. Byrum Hurst announced he would file to run for the party’s nomination for Ross’ seat.

Ross, a Democrat, announced last year he would not see re-election as he prepares for a potential run for governor in 2014. State Sen. Gene Jeffress, a Democrat, filed last week for the seat. D.C. Morrison, who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2010, has said he plans to run too.

Three Republicans have filed to run for Ross’ seat, and they point to new congressional boundaries that include traditionally GOP-leaning areas as a sign that the district is ripe for a switch. Hurst said he believed he could keep the seat in Democrat control and planned to focus his campaign on the economy and job creation.
The one-week filing period ends at noon Thursday.