Jay Martin out, Herb Rule in for Dems in 2nd District | Arkansas Blog

Jay Martin out, Herb Rule in for Dems in 2nd District

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WILL BOND: Last-minute 2nd District candidate?
  • WILL BOND: Last-minute 2nd District candidate?
Jay Martin, the Little Rock lawyer, has just told me he will NOT seek the Democratic nomination for 2nd District Congress after all. Earlier, he'd said he was close to committing to the race.

But, he says, though he can't reveal further specifics, he's talked with a candidate who WILL be announcing for the race.

Martin said his decision ultimately came down to family considerations — balancing a race with a family that includes an eight-year-old, five-year-old twins and his wife with a part-time job. He said he wouldn't rule out politics in the future.

"It's this particular race at this particular time," he said.

So then, who?

Will it be Bill Halter, the former lieutenant governor and Arkansas Lottery originator who's received intense lobbying from national Democratic leaders to make this race? Martin said he's promised not to reveal anything about who he'd talked with. Halter beat Martin in a Democratic primary race for lieutenant governor in 2006 and I do know that the possibility of Halter's potential entry in the race had long been one of Martin's concerns.

Or will it be Will Bond, Democratic Party chair and former state legislator, has also been mentioned as a potential 2nd District candidate and is long known to have an interest in the job?

Or will it be someone else?

At this minute, I'd be surprised if Halter runs. I'd be less surprised if Bond runs. The Democratic Party will say only that it has several strong candidates who've expressed interest. I don't expect news until Thursday, the filing deadline. I've left a message for Bond.

HERB RULE: To run for 2nd District Congress.
  • HERB RULE: To run for 2nd District Congress.
UPDATE: If Bond does run, there will be a primary. At 2:30 p.m. today, I talked to Herb Rule, a member of the Rose Law firm and former state legislator (1970), who says he'll be at the Capitol this afternoon to file. He says he'd talked with Democratic Party officials who'd indicated Bond might be a candidate and that Bond had said he'd received encouragement from Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee officials to run.

Rule said none of that would affect his decision. If the Democrats want a cleared field for this primary, said Rule, there's an easy solution. "Tell the Washington power brokers to tell their hand-picked candidate to get out of the race?" I asked. "Did I say that?" Rule responded. "If you write it, say I said it."

He said a contested race was a good thing. "I hope I don't make a fool of myself," he said.

Rule has been in the news lately defending the VA decision to put a vets center on Main Street, a move U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, the Republican incumbent, has opposed. Good issue, sounds like. Rule has been speaking to city leaders as a long-time supporter of the Stewpot, a feeding program at downtown's First Presbyterian Church.

As I said earlier, there may be still others. The Democratic Party would prefer that a single candidate emerge so as to avoid a costly primary and a repeat of 2010 when the eventual nominee, Joyce Elliott, was bloodied in the primary as gleeful Repubs cheered. That depends on what happens after Rule files.

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