LITTLE ROCK — The founder of the political activist group Regnat Populus said Thursday he will seek the Democratic nomination for Arkansas’ 2nd congressional seat.
Paul Spencer of Scott, who teaches government and history at Little Rock Catholic High for Boys and operates a small family farm, said he will run for the seat now held by Republican French Hill of Little Rock.
“We now stand at a crossroads,” Spencer said in a statement. “For years, we have seen the political priorities of ordinary Americans drown in a sea of special interest money from the political donor class. But now, if the Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell health-care agenda passes, many people will find themselves one pre-existing condition away from financial ruin.
“Moreover, this may be followed by cruel tax and budget proposals, likely to be rubber-stamped by the Republican majority. Arkansans now stand to suffer real physical and material harm at the hands of the 115th Congress,” he said.
An Ohio native, Spencer has lived in central Arkansas for the past 18 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio.
Spencer met his wife, Stephanie, in college. They married in 1996 and moved to her hometown of Little Rock in 1999. They have three sons.
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in 2010, which held that freedom of speech prohibits government from restricting independent political expenditures, Spencer formed Regnat Populus, which takes its name from the state motto, Latin for “The people rule.”
The group seeks to limit the influence of money in the political process. It played a role in the passage of a 2012 constitutional amendment that included ethics provisions.
Spencer also is a co-founder of the Arkansas Democracy Coalition, which seeks to streamline and organize voices against dark money and corruption in politics.
Spencer said his goals if elected will be to foster conditions that allow everyday Arkansans to thrive, especially in the areas of education, economic security and health care. He said he supports universally guaranteed health coverage for all citizens.
He said his campaign will only accept contributions from individuals and will not be beholden to “moneyed interests.”
Republicans currently hold all statewide and federal offices in Arkansas.
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