The Arkansas GOP informed Gov. Mike Beebe that it requests a primary election be held in the House District 54 vacancy caused by Rep. Fred Smith’s resignation over a felony theft conviction.
The request for a primary requires the Arkansas Democratic Party to follow suit. State law stipulates that if one political party requests a primary election versus a convention to choose nominees, then a primary must be called.
“We believe a primary will allow the people of District 54 to best choose their candidates,” said Republican Party of Arkansas Executive Director Chase Dugger.
The Arkansas GOP requested a party convention in December to fill a vacant seat in House District 24 after Republican nominee Keith Crass passed away days before the general election.
“The State Committee of the Republican Party requested a convention for House District 24 to speed up the process so that the people of Hot Springs would have representation at some point during this legislative session,” Dugger said.
He added that either method for replacing Smith could not be completed before the session’s end and that a primary was the "fairest option" for voters.