OUT OF RACE: Lt. Gov. Mark Darr quits congressional race.
Breaking news, first out from Roby Brock at Talk Business
. Statement today from Lt. Gov. Mark Darr:
“After careful thought and deliberation, I will not be seeking the Fourth District position in the United States Congress.
I feel that my priority needs to be focused on my family and sometimes trying to achieve titles gets in the way of that.
I look forward to serving out my current term as Lt. Governor and helping my friends get elected or re-elected should they desire my assistance.
I have made many friends across this state.. . young and old. .. Democrats and Republicans and for their unwavering support I am humbled.”
The previous item on Razorback tickets alludes to an immediate precipitating cause — the complaint filed against Darr over his campaign spending by Matt Campbell of Blue Hog Report,
who dug up a number of discrpepancies in Darr's accounting as well as in use of his public office expense account. Darr's promise to "amend" the report was doomed to result in multiple violations for obvious transgressions and fraudulent reporting of personal expenditures as "fund-raising" or "supplies." Blue Hog had also raised questions about whether Darr had concurrently billed his campaign and the state for the same or similar expenses, a question that now demands a much closer look.
But in recent days Tea Party-aligned activists have been stirring the pot about Darr, too, on issues unrelated to the ethics allegations.
This leaves Republican Rep. Bruce Westerman
and Hot Springs businessman Tommy Moll
as announced candidates on the Republican side to succeed Rep. Tom Cotton,
who's running for Senate.
The statement suggests Darr will not be running for re-election either, but I've sought clarification on that.
Presumably, too, this means he no longer needs to make the move to Mansfield, but can stay put in Springdale, where his wife teaches school.
I'm sorry for a variety of reasons. Darr is an amiable cuss. And I've been wrangling with a video of him singing, unaccompanied, "God Bless the USA" at a meeting of county officials. He'd have won a karaoke contest with Westerman for sure.
Still waiting for an Arkansas Republican official to criticize Darr for his faulty ethical conduct. Democrats acquitted themselves far better than Republicans when it came to Paul Bookout. None defended his actions and several called for his resignation. There's been near-silence on Darr, apart from some sycophants hastening to say Darr wasn't as bad as Bookout, though the transgressions differed only in amount and personal purchase preferences.
Republicans should be demanding that a prosecutor look into both the Darr campaign and public expense accounts. Doyle Webb?
UPDATE: A spokesman for Darr said he'd have no further comments about his future than what was contained in the statement he gave to Talk Business. However, he told Talk Business he'd have to clear up his ethics matter before deciding definitively on running for lieutenant governor. Two Republicans and a Democrat have already announced.