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Presidential Candidates

Fourteen Arkansans or people closely associated with Arkansas have been candidates for president of the United States or have been considered contenders for the office. Some had short campaigns (or no campaign at all), while others have received significant national attention. Until 1968, Arkansans running for president generally represented minor parties with no hope of winning the general election. The campaign of Wilbur Mills in 1972 was the first to represent a serious chance at putting an Arkansan in the White House; hoping to be chosen on a later ballot at the Democratic convention, Mills continued his campaign until hours before the final vote. Following his success, other Arkansans entered the primaries of the two major parties and were taken seriously by voters in all parts of the United States. One Arkansan, Bill Clinton, was twice elected president of the United States. In 2016, Hillary Clinton became the first woman nominated on a major party ticket.







George Edwin Taylor

Little Rock (Pulaski County)


National Liberty

Nominated, but lost election to Theodore Roosevelt

Joseph Taylor Robinson

Concord Township (Lonoke County)



Nominated in convention as “favorite son” candidate, but lost nomination to John W. Davis

William “Coin” Harvey

Buffalo, Virginia (lived in Arkansas 1900–1936)



Nominated, but lost election to Franklin Roosevelt

Gerald Smith

Pardeeville, Wisconsin (lived in Arkansas 1964–1976)

1944; 1948

America First; Christian Nationalist

Nominated, but lost elections to Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman

Orval Faubus

Greasy Creek (Madison County)


National States’ Rights

Nominated, but lost election to John Kennedy

Eldridge Cleaver

Wabbaseka (Jefferson County)


Peace and Freedom

Nominated, but lost election to Richard Nixon

Winthrop Rockefeller

New York, New York (lived in Arkansas 1953–1973)



Nominated at convention as a “favorite son” candidate; received eighteen votes, trailing Richard Nixon

Wilbur Mills

Kensett (White County)



Ran in primaries; lost nomination to George McGovern

Dale Bumpers

Charleston (Franklin County)



Explored candidacy, but chose not to run

Bill Clinton

Hope (Hempstead County)

1992, 1996


Ran in primaries, was nominated twice, and won both elections

Mary Cal Hollis

Pine Bluff (Jefferson County)

1996, 2004

Socialist Party USA

Nominated in 1996; sought nomination for 2004 election but withdrew from race before the party’s convention.

Wesley Clark

Chicago, Illinois (has lived in Arkansas since 1947)



Ran in primaries; withdrew in February, trailing John Kerry

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Chicago, Illinois (lived in Arkansas 1974–1992)

2008, 2016


Ran in primaries for 2008 election; won many states but finished second to Barack Obama. Announced candidacy again in 2016 and secured Democratic nomination. Lost to Donald Trump in general election.

Mike Huckabee

Hope (Hempstead County)

2008, 2016


Ran in primaries for 2008 election; won some states but finished behind John McCain. Announced candidacy again in 2016 but lost Republican nomination to Donald Trump.

For additional information:
Presidential Pathways in Arkansas. Little Rock: Destination Arkansas, 2004.

Staff of Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture

Last Updated 11/9/2016

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