by Max Brantley
Gov. Mike Beebe today received the official resignation letter from Rep. Hudson Hallum of Marion, who has pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme to buy absentee votes in his narrow special election victory last year. The resignation comes too late to fill the vacancy before the end of the term Dec. 31.
Hallum, a Democrat, and a Green Party candidate, Fred Smith, are on the election ballot in November. It is too late for Hallum's name to be removed from the ballot. Smith, who resigned the seat previously after pleading guilty to theft but who contends a suspended sentence leaves him eligible to run again, must defeat Hallum to serve, according to an interpretation I received from the secretary of state's office. Should Hallum get the most votes, his conviction would make him ineligible to serve and a vacancy would be declared, prompting a special election.
Remember the Louisiana slogan when Edwin Edwards faced David Duke — "vote for the crook"? It comes to mind.