I wrote confidently yesterday that there would be no special election to fill Sen. Johnny Key’s seat after his departure today to take a $130,000-a-year lobbying job at the University of Arkansas System immediately rather than complete the five months left in his term.
Gov. Mike Beebe’s office made it official today:
We have received Senator Key’s letter of resignation.
After discussion and review of the applicable statutes, Governor Beebe does not plan to call a special election to fill the vacancy.
If either party decided to opt for a primary, the schedule set under statute would not allow the election to occur before 2015.
If both parties opted to select candidates by convention, the election could feasibly be held on the same day as the general election. However, the results would not be certified until mid-November and there are currently no plans to call the legislature into session during the holiday season.
For these reasons, Governor Beebe sees it as prudent to avoid the costs and logistical hurdles of a special election to briefly fill the vacancy caused by Senator Key’s departure.