Democratic Party frontrunner Chris Jones to launch month-long, 75-county campaign tour across state

Democratic Party frontrunner Chris Jones to launch month-long, 75-county campaign tour across state

Throughout February, Jones’ “Promise of Arkansas Tour” aims to touch every Arkansas county in 28 days

BCN Executive Editor Wesley Brown – Feb. 4, 2022 — Arkansas gubernatorial candidate Chris Jones, the fundraising frontrunner for the state Democratic Party, will officially launch his “The Promise of Arkansas Tour” on tomorrow (Feb. 5) that will touch every corner of the Natural State.

Throughout February, Jones plans to visit all the state’s 75 counties in one month, beginning with a meet-and-greet breakfast at the Community Bakery in Little Rock and an official launch rally later that morning in North Little Rock. The aggressive campaign, which began on Feb. 1 with visits to Sevier, Miller, and Howard counties in the Southwest corner of the state, is being term by campaign officials as the “most ambitious and demanding effort to reach Arkansas voters this election.”

“Chris Jones is committed to changing what it means to campaign in Arkansas, by listening and learning from all communities, by building an enduring and resilient grassroots campaign, and by sharing his vision – that Arkansas can build on its rich history, can realize its full potential, and can reach its promise through faith, hope and hard work,” longtime state Democratic Party spokesman Reed Brewer said in a statement.

With 10 South Arkansas counties already behind him, Jones is kicking off his around-the-state state tour just weeks after Republican gubernatorial candidate Sarah Huckabee Sanders set another all-time fundraising record for state office after reporting a fourth quarter campaign haul of $12.8 million, including over $1.6 million in the final three months of 2021, according to quarterly campaign filings with the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office for the period ended Dec. 31.

Sanders has raised more money in Arkansas than all her GOP and Democratic Party opponents just 10 months before the next governor’s race on Nov. 8, 2022. In Arkansas, Sanders said she has raised $4.4 million from nearly 11,000 Arkansans and reports over $7 million cash on hand heading into election year, mostly from out of state donors.

In the same period, the “Chris Jones for Governor” candidacy also boosted its campaign haul with $324,576.28 in contributions for the three-month period ended Dec. 31. Still, Jones’ total budget coffers at $969,495.21 ahead of the Democratic Party primary in late May falls well short of Sanders. With additional contributions of $16,970 for the 2022 general election, the nuclear engineer with advanced degrees from Morehouse College and Massachusetts Institute of Technology has raised over $1,279,220.57 since jumping in the race in June.

Of his total campaign haul, Jones has spent $969,495.21 mostly on a grassroots-style fundraising approach through small donations from varied local, state and national supporters. And now with only $309,725.36 on hand, Jones campaign has mostly focused on a potential general election matchup with Sanders as his three other Democrat gubernatorial rivals remain in the primary race despite literally no campaign budget.

With the Democratic primary only three months away, Jones has a huge cash lead on the primary competitors, which includes businesswoman Supha Xayprasith-Mays, Harrison native James “Rus” Russell and Anthony Bland, another Black candidate who ran for Lt. Governor in 2018. Of those three, Mays has $15,000 cash on hand, while Bland has $2,147 available and Russell has a negative balance.

Jones has maintained frontrunner status in Arkansas from the moment he jumped into the governor’s race earlier this summer with a viral video highlighting his background as a nuclear engineer and minister with strong family and generation ties to Arkansas.

In the next leg of his campaign, the former Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub executive director is hosting a weekly social media-flavored web series on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube called “This Great State of Ours.” In his Feb. 2 launch video, Jones explains the video series is intended to share stories of six creative change-makers to learn about the positive impact of the work they do and discuss what needs to be done to uplift Arkansas communities.

“I want to share more about the love I have for my home state of Arkansas,” Jones said in his first video here.

Unlike Jones, Sanders to date does not have a primary opponent after Attorney General Leslie Rutledge dropped out of the governor’s race in early November after an unofficial poll showed Sanders had a nearly 60-point lead heading toward the Republican primary. Sanders is the daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and the former spokeswoman for former President Donald Trump.

Jones has also garnered national attention as the state’s first Black candidate for the top office at the State Capitol. His brother, Leon Jones Jr., also announced nearly a year ago that he was running for Arkansas attorney general in 2022 on the GOP ticket, joining an increasingly crowded race for the state’s second-highest elected office. If either or both brothers are elected, the Jones siblings would make history on several fronts as the first African Americans to ascend to the highest level of Arkansas state government in either party.

The Democratic and Republican Parties of Arkansas will hold primaries to select their nominees on May 24, 2022. To vote in these primaries, Arkansans must be registered to vote before April 24. Early voting will begin on May 9. To vote in the Nov. 8 general election, voters must be registered by Oct. 10. Early voting begins on Oct. 24 and will last through Election Day.

Jones, Sanders and the other Democratic candidates are seeking to replace Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a term-limited Republican whose tenure as Arkansas’ 46th governor ends on Dec. 31, 2022. Hutchinson was first elected in November 2014 by defeating former Arkansas Democratic Congressman Mike Ross of Prescott, who held the previous fundraising record for the governor’s race at $6.44 million.

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