LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A Little Rock high school teacher and political activist said Thursday that he’s seeking the Democratic nomination for a central Arkansas congressional seat.

Paul Spencer said he’s running for the 2nd Congressional District seat currently held by U.S. Rep. French Hill, a Republican who was first elected in 2014. Hill didn’t immediately reply to a message seeking comment.

Spencer teaches government and history at Little Rock Catholic High School and formed a group called Regnat Populus that has pushed for campaign finance and ethics changes in the state. In his announcement, Spencer criticized efforts by Republicans in Washington to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

Spencer’s spokesman, Reed Brewer, said one of Spencer’s biggest motivations to run for the seat was “the boldness and frankness” Republican lawmakers showed when discussing stripping health coverage from 23 million people.

The health care bill Republicans recently pushed through the House would leave 23 million more Americans without insurance, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

“We now stand at a crossroads. For years we have seen the political priorities of ordinary Americans drown in a sea of special interest money from the political donor class,” Spencer said in a news release. “But now, if the Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell Healthcare 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.”

Spencer, who was on vacation and wasn’t able to discuss his candidacy, said his campaign will only accept contributions from individuals. Brewer said Spencer wants to show people that this is the way elections should be won.

Spencer faces an uphill battle, as Republicans in Arkansas hold all statewide and federal offices as well as majorities in both chambers of the Legislature.


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