SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA) - Midterm elections commonly serve as a check on whichever party is in power and this year, Democrats are hoping to flip seats across the country in a "blue wave." In Arkansas, the Democratic party is seeing an opportunity to get its party back on track.
"I think even more people have seen the importance of how elections matter and how elections have consequence," said Megan Godfrey who's running for state representative for district 89.
Every Monday night, you'll find Godfrey and a handful of friends gathered around her dining room table in Springdale. But it's not for a dinner party.
Godfrey is cold calling voters.
The first time candidate is hoping to raise enough money and secure enough votes to flip the State House of Representatives seat in district 89 from red to blue.
"I think our state has evolved, and our community has evolved and I think our representation and leadership needs to evolve with that as well," Godfrey explained.
She's getting into the game at a rough time for Democrats in Arkansas. Republicans hold all seven constitutional offices as well as majorities in both the State House and Senate. All six of Arkansas' congressman are Republicans.
"We have some work to do but as far as, the party is not just a building, it's the people that are apart of it and there's definitely a good energy out there," said State Representative Michael John Gray, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Arkansas.
That energy is most visible in Northwest Arkansas. Godfrey is one of fifteen Democrats running for the State House in districts across Washington and Benton counties. That's more candidates than 2014 and 2016 elections combined.
"I think in addition to the blue wave, we're actually seeing a new wave...a wave of individuals, and volunteers and supporters who are coming on and getting involved in campaigns for the very first time," Godfrey said.
What's more unusual, ten of those fifteen candidates are women. A fact that former political science professor Hoyt Purvis says shouldn't come as a surprise.
"A lot of women are motivated in a way that they haven't been in the past," Purvis said.
Gray says while the quantity of candidates is encouraging, it's the quality that will win elections in November.
"You'll see candidates that can think for themselves and care about others and while may have an ideology, that ideology takes a backseat to serving the people they want to represent," Gray explained.
But Doyle Webb, chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas, says the numbers are still on their side.
"I don't see a blue wave coming," Webb said. "We may pick up a seat or two, we may lose a seat or two, but we'll still be overwhelmingly the majority party in the state house and the senate."
"I'm not worried," Webb added.
Neither is Godfrey's opponent, State Representative Jeff Williams.
"I think when the people of Arkansas, the people of the 89th district and the people here in Springdale, look at the record and what we've been able to do in only a few years, they're going to see that for what it is and they're going to want a continuation of that record," Williams said.
As for Godfrey, she hopes voters will think about more than the letter that sits after her name when they head to the polls.
"Ultimately, at the end of the day, people really just want a candidate that they know they can trust and who has really strong and admirable character," Godfrey said.
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