Republican Rep. Mathew Pitsch, the House majority leader, has announced that he’ll run for the Senate District 8 seat currently held by Sen. Jake Files of Fort Smith.
Files, who’s been in the Senate since 2011, hasn’t announced re-election plans as far as I know.(UPDATE: Michael Wickline of the Democrat-Gazette says he’s not running.) He’s endured a succession of unflattering news stories about his struggling business and cash infusions from a lobbyist in the form of a loan and from a nursing home owner in the form of a cash transfer revealed in a lawsuit involving a Files business and not yet fully explained. His negative exposure mounted today with a report in the Fort Smith Times-Record of foreclosure of a loan on an apartment development in Fort Smith. Files
Pitsch’s news release made no mention of Files. He said he hoped to continue to focus on representing Fort Smith and promoting economic development.