July 12 – Arkansas State House District 54
Hudson Hallum (D) – 51%
D’James Rogers (I) -28%
John Geelan (R) – 21%
Arkansas House of Representatives breakdown – 54D, 45R with this one vacancy
Another legislator convicted of a crime and that means a special election special, this time in Crittenden County, Arkansas. The legislator, Democrat Fred Smith was convicted of negligent theft, when the non-profit received duplicate checks from the local school district and cashed both of them.
Though appeals continue in the case, the public will move on to vote on a replacement. The seat is traditionally Democratic, with a base around Marion and inclusive of West Memphis. But as with all special elections, surprising things happen as turnout stays unfortunately low.
The runoff to pick a Democratic candidate illustrated clearly just how each and every vote matters. If four more voters had shown up to vote – or if a pair had changed their minds – Hudson Hallum (who may win the candidate-name-of-the-month award) would not be the nominee. After his narrow victory, the West Memphis firefighter and private EMS company owner is setting his sights on heading to Little Rock.
Republicans chose John Geelan, a former state police inspector and businessman, in their pursuit of a seat pick-up here
D’James Rogers, a businessman and former aide to Senator Blanche Lincoln, has also qualified for the ballot as an independent. Democrats will have to worry about his splitting the vote as he espouses many progressive policies.