by Max Brantley
The Arkansas Democratic Party has asked the Pulaski Circuit Court to remove former state Rep. Fred Smith from the ballot for the state House from parts of Crittenden and Cross Counties. You'll recall that the convicted felon filed at the last minute while claiming his record had been expunged. Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin's office refused to remove Smith when the Democratic Party said he wasn't eligible. Martin's office said only a court could decide. Now it will.
Here's the lawsuit. It names Smith and Martin as defendants. It says Martin shouldn't have accepted Smith's filing because he filed a pledge saying he was qualified to serve but didn't present a certificate demonstrating his felony conviction had been expunged as statute requires. Martin's refusal to do his duty and block this filing is worth remembering.
Current state Rep. Hudson Hallum is the only other candidate who filed for the seat.