Blue to Red Oral History Project

On the morning of Election Day in 2010, Democrats occupied three of the four Arkansas seats in the US House of Representatives, both US Senate seats, all state constitutional offices, and decisive majorities in both chambers of the Arkansas General Assembly. Within five years, Arkansas Republicans would hold all six US congressional positions, every state constitutional seat, and claim growing supermajorities in both state chambers. Over the next two election cycles, Republicans would enjoy unprecedented electoral success in Arkansas, the last remaining state of the once “Solid South” held by Democrats. By 2015, the Republican Party—the same party that failed to recruit candidates in many high-profile races as recently as 2010—not only held majorities in the state legislative chambers for the first time since Reconstruction but also had orchestrated one of the fastest, most powerful statewide political waves in the United States. In ten short years, from 2005 to 2015, the Natural State saw a dramatic, swift shift from Democratic Party majority control of government, stemming as far back as the nineteenth century, to Republican Party dominance.

The Blue to Red Oral History Project is a collection of interviews, conducted in the oral history tradition, with political office holders, journalists, party officials, and academics who observed this historic shift in Arkansas politics. Beginning in 2020, John C. Davis—in partnership with the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History—began conducting the first of what would become nineteen interviews on this subject. Many of the interviews would later be featured in a book, From Blue to Red: The Rise of the GOP in Arkansas, written by Davis.

Naturally, the global COVID-19 pandemic posed considerable challenges in the capturing of these interviews, which is reflected in the varying production quality of the overall collection. Nonetheless, the interviews capture first-hand accounts and offer unique perspectives into this important aspect of Arkansas political history.

Interviewee Interviewer Date
B Barth, JayJohn C. Davis 04/09/2021
Bass, HalJohn C. Davis 07/01/2021
Beebe, MikeJohn C. Davis 08/05/2021
Broadway, ShaneJohn C. Davis 03/08/2021
Brock, RobyJohn C. Davis 10/13/2020
Brummett, JohnnyJohn C. Davis 04/07/2021
C Carter, DavyJohn C. Davis 08/10/2021
Clemmer, AnnJohn C. Davis 10/19/2020
G Griffin, TimJohn C. Davis 10/19/2020
H Huckabee, MikeJohn C. Davis 07/01/2021
Hutchinson, AsaJohn C. Davis 05/27/2021
K Kellams, LauraJohn C. Davis 04/19/2022
M Maxwell, AngieJohn C. Davis 09/29/2021
N Nelson, RexJohn C. Davis 10/08/2020
P Parry, JanineJohn C. Davis 09/28/2021
R Rutherford, SkipJohn C. Davis 12/17/2020
V Vickery, BillJohn C. Davis 05/17/2021
W Weaver, JeffreyJohn C. Davis 08/18/2020
Webb, DoyleJohn C. Davis 12/17/2020

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