by Max Brantley
STATEMENT BY SENATOR PAUL BOOKOUT
“I am announcing today my resignation from the Arkansas Senate effective immediately. I made the Governor and President Pro-Tempore of the Senate aware of my resignation today.
“I am thankful and grateful to the people who have allowed me the opportunity to be a voice for them in the State House and the State Senate on the important issues of our day.”
This won't end the special prosecutor investigation set in motion today. But I'd be surprised if it's not a factor in the outcome. I'd think that the pending investigation — plus a potential for a federal review of tax issues — contributes to his decision not to elaborate on his reasons or make any specific admission of wrongdoing, accompanied by apology.
Under the Constitution, the governor must set an election to fill a vacancy. Bookout had a four-year term that had just begun. The parties' deliberation will decide whether nominees come in a primary election or by convention.
Republicans are chortling, naturally. With the possible exception of Michael Lamoureux, an ethics violator himself and friend of Bookout's who hadn't joined the lynch mob. Democratic Party spokeswoman Candace Martin said: "The situation with Paul Bookout is both sad and disappointing but resigning was the right and appropriate thing to do."
Sounds about right to me.
Gov. Beebe made a similar statement through a spokesman:
"The governor feels it's a sad thing to see, but the right thing for Senator Bookout to do under the circumstances. "