The field for the race for Arkansas Speaker of the House is coming into focus with one Democratic candidate and one Republican candidate having already announced their respective candidacies.
Last week, a potential candidate for Speaker, State Representative Keith Ingram (D-West Memphis), confirmed that he is not not running for Speaker and will either seek re-election or run for the State Senate. After visiting with him on Friday, I got the distinct impression that — while he didn’t say so specifically — he’ll probably run for the State Senate.
With Ingram’s exit, the only two announced candidates for the Speaker are Representative Darrin Williams (D-Little Rock) and Representative Terry Rice (R-Waldron). Williams is an attorney in private practice in Little Rock and once served as the Chief of Staff for then-Attorney General Mark Pryor. Rice is the owner of Rice Furniture in Waldron and is a third generation State Legislator following in the steps of his father and grandfather.
The election is in late February or early March of 2012 and the winner will officially become Speaker in January of 2013 after current Speaker of the House Robert Moore (D-Arkansas City) completes his term. At this time, there are no other candidates, but nothing legally prevents one from emerging before the election.
Today, I visited with one of the candidates, State Representative Rice, and will visit with Representative Williams soon. Once I do, I’ll update this story with both of their comments and insights on the Speaker’s race and their visions for the State House.