A reader reports that re-election billboards for felony-charged tax deadbeat Mickey Gates, the Republican state representative from Hot Springs, feature an endorsement by Mike Huckabee.

Huckabee, who fled Arkansas for income tax-free Florida after his time in office here, filmed a message promoting Gates during the primary season. He called Gates then a man of “absolute integrity.”

But in late June, Gates was arrested on felony charges for failure to pay state income taxes for six years. He’d been a serial tax scofflaw for years, filing no returns for 15 years between 2003 and 2018. Authorities apparently concluded nonpayment was willful and filed charges. He owes more than a quarter-million dollars to the state.  The Republican Party and various Republican officials have been mixed in reaction. A couple have called for him to resign from office, but his nomination was confirmed by the state party, which defended him initially and slammed Democrats for calling for his resignation. Response by Republican House colleagues has been tepid — a loss of committee leadership roles during the interim when the legislature is not meeting.

I’ve asked Gates if the Huckabee appearance on his billboards — on Highway 7 and Fox Pass Road, a reader reports — was cleared again after his arrest. I’ve also attempted to send a message to Huckabee about his billboard appearance in support of the accused.

Democrat Kevin Rogers is opposing Gates. He has not been charged with six felonies, among other qualifications.