All but overlooked in the legislature’s rush to change the law to continue to hold primary elections in March during presidential election years was the impact on nonpartisan judicial elections, held the same day as the party primaries.

The Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission sent out a notice this week on how the law change affects judicial candidates planning to run in 2020 — likely a high number given planned retirements in Pulaski County and elsewhere.


Act 545 sets the 2020 primary on the first Tuesday after the first day of March, or March 3. Judicial candidates may begin forming campaign committees 365 days before an election. That was March 4, more than two weeks ago. They may begin soliciting contributions 180 days before an election, or this coming Sept. 5. They may continue to raise money for 45 days after the election, or until April 17, 2020 in races in which there are no runoffs.

And what about runoffs? They would be held in November 2020. That means an eight-month runoff season for such unlucky candidates.


This all results from hopes Arkansas is a whistlestop for presidential candidates. I don’t think they generally will find high appeal in trolling for our six electoral votes. But perhaps Donald Trump will come to town to spread some reflected glory on select allies who might someday be political candidates again. I’m thinking Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and the 2022 race for governor, particularly.