The Arkansas Democratic Party held a news conference today to say officials had still received no further specific information about why Josh Mahony dropped out of a race for U.S. Senate two hours after filing closed and thus could see no “viable path” to fielding a replacement candidate.
The news conference is still in progress, but a Party spokesman said Party Chair Michael John Gray was asked whether the party would consider seeking a replacement under the argument that illness of a family member, as well as serious illness of a candidate, provided an exception that could allow a new candidate after filing closed. Gray reportedly responded that might be an option, but the party still had no information on which to base such a claim.
Mahony dropped out after filing closed and issued a terse statement that it was due to a family health issue. He’s not emerged publicly since. The Republican Party in various ways has suggested it drove him out of the race with research into errors and omissions in various documents he filed as a candidate for Congress in 2018 and for Senate this year. It suggested it had more dirt as yet unrevealed.
Mark Henry, a Fayetteville lawyer who said he represented Mahony, gave a statement to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette over the weekend that he said was meant to “bring certainty” and end discussion of the issue. But his statement provided little other than to say the illness was that of an immediate family member and not Mahony.
A spokesman for the party says that’s still all the party knows.
The Arkansas Republican Party had vowed to fight any effort by the Democratic Party to find a replacement opponent for Republican incumbent Sen. Tom Cotton, who still faces an independent and a Libertarian candidate.
PS: Time to get to know independent Daniel Whitfield, a progressive candidate who favors Medicare for all, an end to the war on drugs, campaign finance reform, closure of tax loopholes for billionaires and student debt relief. He also says: “Climate change is real. Period.”
UPDATE: The Democratic Party issued this statement:
“After exhaustive and careful examination with our legal counsel and our party leaders and without additional information from Mr. Mahony, the Democratic Party of Arkansas will not be able to field a candidate for United States Senate,” said Chairman Michael John Gray. “The narrow legal window to replace Mr. Mahony as our nominee would require evidence that has not been provided to us publicly or privately. But Arkansas Democrats aren’t discouraged. There are top tier candidates in competitive state legislative and congressional races all across the state. Voters are ready to make a difference and make Arkansas a better place.”