Gov. Mike Beebe today set a March 8 special election to fill the House 24 seat that will be vacant because the election was won by Keith Crass, who died shortly before. The parties will choose nominees by convention. The seat won't be vacant until the end of term-limited Rep. Rick Saunders' term Jan. 1. The requirements of the law don't allow for hurryup elections, so the seat will be vacant for most of the legislative session.
The governor's proclamation:
A PROCLAMATION CALLING FOR A SPECIAL ELECTION FOR THE OFFICE OF STATE REPRESENTATIVE FOR DISTRICT 24 AND SETTING ELECTION-RELATED DEADLINES
WHEREAS, as is required by Ark. Code Ann. § 7-7-105(a)(1), I certified the fact of vacancy in the office of State Representative for District 24 to each of the State’s recognized political parties and requested that each party notify me within ten days with respect to whether the party desires to hold a special primary election or a convention of delegates to select party nominees; and
WHEREAS, the Democratic Party of Arkansas and the Republican Party of Arkansas have notified me in writing that party each wishes to select a party nominee by a convention of delegates held under party rules; and
WHEREAS, Arkansas law provides that the Governor, by proclamation, shall set the date for a special election to fill the vacancy and establish other election-related deadlines and requirements;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, MIKE BEEBE, Governor of Arkansas, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by law, and pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. §§ 7-7-105 and 7-11-101, do hereby proclaim as follows:
1. A special election shall be held on Tuesday, March 8, 2011, for the purpose of filling the vacancy in the office of Arkansas State Representative for District 24. The special election shall be held in that part of Garland County that constitutes the District.
2. Political party nominees for the special election shall be chosen by party convention. There shall be no special primary or special run-off election.
3. The deadline for party conventions to select nominees shall be December 31, 2010; the deadline for parties to submit certificates of nomination shall be January 5; 2011; party candidates shall file certificates of nomination with the Secretary of State on or before January 7, 2011.
4. Independent candidates for the special election, if any, must submit their notices of candidacy, political practice pledges, and affidavits of eligibility to the office of the Secretary of State in Little Rock by 12:00 noon on Friday, January 7, 2011. Petitions in support of independent candidates may be circulated from 12:00 noon on December 8, 2010 through 12:00 noon on January 6, 2011, and must be filed no later than 12:00 noon on January 7, 2011.
5. Write-in candidates for the special election must notify in writing the county board of election commissioners and file a notice of candidacy, political practices pledge, and affidavit of eligibility for office no earlier than 12:00 noon on December 7, 2010, and no later than 12:00 noon on January 7, 2011.
6. Drawing for ballot position for the special election shall occur on or before Friday, January 14, 2011.
7. The results of the election shall be certified by the county boards of election commissioners on or before March 18, 2011.
8. Any other deadlines and requirements shall be as provided for by the election laws of this State.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Arkansas to be affixed this 7th day of December, in the year of our Lord 2010.