LeAnne Burch of Monticello won the Democratic nomination for Arkansas House District 9 (Ashley and Drew counties) last night, taking the place of original nominee Sheilla Lampkin, who died after a battle with cancer last month, leaving the Democrats without a candidate. Lampkin had been seeking her fourth term.
Burch, a retired brigadier general, won over Candace Jeffress, a teacher from Hamburg and businessman Grant Pace of Monticello. The election was held at a convention at the University of Arkansas at Monticello campus. Burch received votes from six delegates, beating out Jeffress, who nabbed five. Southeast Arkansas News has more.
The governor called for a special election to replace Lampkin, which will be held on Nov. 8, the same day as the general election. The winner of the special election will serve the two months remaining on Lampkin’s term; the winner of the general election will then be sworn in in January and serve for two years. It’s confusing.
Burch’s name will appear on the ballot for both the special election and the general election.
In theory, one would think that the candidate who wins the essentially symbolic special election to fill out the last two months of Lampkin’s term (during which time the General Assembly won’t be scheduled to convene, though there will be a scattering of committee meetings) would be the same person to win the actual general election.
But there’s a twist! Burch will face Republican Jim Hall of Monticello, who won the March GOP primary, in the general election. But Hall’s name will not be on the special election ballot. That’s because the Republican party committees of Drew and Ashley counties decided not to hold a special convention to pick a candidate. They thought it would be a waste of time and money to hold a convention just to nominate someone to serve for two months.
Or that’s what they say! But John Moritz at the D-G reports that Hall believes his name is not on the special election ballot because his ex-mother in law is plotting against him, and that she is colluding with the two county district chairs:
Hall said his feud with his former mother-in-law, Mary Maloney of Monticello, led to her arrest in February 2015 on a charge of criminal solicitation to commit capital murder. The charge was dropped six days later after the 10th Judicial Circuit’s prosecutor’s office determined that she withdrew her offer to have Hall killed. …
Both Maloney and the state Republican Party denied Hall’s accusations regarding the special election.
GOP state party spokesperson Lauren Montgomery told Mortiz that the county committee decisions had nothing to do with Hall or his dispute with his former mother in law: “They don’t see the necessity of having a convention or nominating someone because it is a waste of tax dollars.” For his part, Hall offered no meaningful evidence of the conspiracy to Moritz.
Hall says on his campaign Facebook page that his preference would have been to let the seat stay vacant in honor of Lampkin, but once the governor called a special election, the GOP should have nominated a candidate.
Hall yesterday filed to be a write-in candidate on the special election ballot.