It looks like conservative blogger Mark Moore of Arkansas Watch will be running for State Representative in District 95, but as an independent not a Republican. I contacted Moore and asked why he is running as an independent, although I could have guessed. (see update)
Moore is definitely an anti-establishment conservative who has not held back in his criticism of the state party. For example, he blogged about another independent from Stone County – Paul White – who is planning to challenge Republican Sen. Missy Irvin for her State Senate race (although his petitions have not yet been certified). In his post, he was critical of the Republican Party’s decision to raise the filing fees for candidates.
I don’t always agree with Moore, but I like the fact that he bluntly states what he believes. He will face Republican Sue Scott of Rogers in the general election.
Other independents qualifying for the ballot include Ronnie Spence (House District 57); James E. George (House District 41); Dennis Knapp (House District 64); Anton Such (House District 99); and Peter Sam Cyphers (House District 6). Two others have submitted petitions which are being reviewed.
Secretary of State Mark Martin explained that the certification process was a bit more complicated this year due to the new legislative districts. The number of signatures required varies by the specific district’s number of votes cast during the last gubernatorial election.
“Due to the new district lines drawn during the redistricting process, we had to do a lot of research to make sure we had the correct numbers,” Martin said. “All voters had to be moved to the correct district.”
UPDATE – “I am running because I think I can help, and I think the state government in general and the legislature in particular needs that help,” Moore tells me today. “They need help with sorting good public policy from bad public policy, and they need help doing the good things that I think a lot of them already want to do. As it stands, I don’t think government is addressing people’s frustrations.”
As for why he is running as an independent, he had plenty to say on that.
“I think the two-party system is part of the problem,” said Moore. “Look at what is going on up here right now in the Hester-Summers race for State Senate, which overlaps the house district which I hope to serve. I think it is fair to say that Hester is more conservative than Summers. Yet the big traditional names in the Republican party up here have jumped in for Summers. Heck, I can think of a big Democrat name or two that is pulling for Summers. It is like that for a lot of independent-minded people in either party. The establishment from both sides piles on against them. You really don’t have a fair chance in a party primary if they don’t want you to.”
Moore certainly speaks his mind. If he pulls off a win, it would be fun to watch him under the dome.