State Sen. Will Bond, a Little Rock Democrat, won’t seek another term in the Senate next year.
He announced the decision on his Facebook page:
I am not running for re-election to the Arkansas Senate in 2020. Serving Little Rock and all of Senate District 32 is an incredible honor for which I am thankful every day. My Senate term continues until the end of 2020, and I will work hard for the entire term. I will continue to encourage Arkansans to unite around our common values of honesty, hard work and commitment to family and pursue, with laser focus, big, shared goals. I frequently ask people, “What history will we write together?” Arkansas can lead the nation and have the highest percentage of its residents earning a vo-tech, two year or four year degree in the next five years. Arkansas can be the best place to teach and learn in the nation. Arkansas can be the safest state in the nation. Arkansas can lead the nation in improving the overall health of her people. Arkansas can lead the nation in infrastructure improvement and repair and protect our natural resources. Arkansas can lead the South on civil rights and pay equity. Arkansas can make sure the ladder her people climb to pursue their personal American dreams extends so that everyone willing has a fair chance to grab a rung and climb up. We just have to decide together to do it. We have to get past the idea that we “just get by with what we have” and decide what we want to be together and build that future together. It may sound silly, or political, or naïve, but to get the future we want, we have to decide first what we want that future to be. I hope this will not be the end of public service for me, but 2020 will be the end of my service in the Arkansas Senate. Please continue to call on me anytime you have questions or concerns. I thank each and every one of you for the opportunity to serve.
Bond elaborated later that the decision was driven by increasing difficulty in maintaining a law practice and nearly full-time work in the Senate. He said Senate labors had grown particularly because of the fiscal session, a development he opposed that makes it harder for “citizen legislators.”
Clarke Tucker, who served two terms in the House before making an unsuccessful race for 2nd District Congress last year, tells me he plans to run and a formal announcement is coming soon.
Bond, 49, a lawyer who served two terms in the state House and two years as chair of the state Democratic Party, was elected to his Senate term in 2016. He’s been a strong and sane progressive voice in the Senate, but that doesn’t translate to many victories in the Republican-dominated legislature. Still his record in 2019 is studded with successful legislation, much of which related to the justice system, including stiffer penalties for violation of using campaign money for personal expenses.
The Democratic primary is March 3, 2020, with filing to close Nov. 11. In 2016, Bond faced a Libertarian opponent and won 75 percent of the vote in District 32, which covers the Heights and Hillcrest in Little Rock, along with a stretch of western Little Rock generally north of I-630 to the Arkansas River and then some mostly rural country around Roland.
Tucker, 38, a lawyer, ran a hard and well-funded race for Congress against Republican incumbent Rep. French Hill in 2018. Of significance in a state legislative race: he handily beat Hill in Pulaski County, home of both candidates. Hill was re-elected on the strength of a sweep of suburban counties.