story by Ryan Saylor
The candidate announcements continue to trickle in and the first announced candidate for Arkansas Secretary of State has been made by Pulaski County Elections Commission Chair Susan Inman.
Inman, a Democrat, confirmed her intent to run for the office earlier today (May 9).
In announcing her run, Inman said she would like to see the office "restore good customer service." She also said her experience would put her at an advantage in running for the office.
"I would have no learning curve," she said. "It's important to have a Secretary that's present, active and available within the office."
Inman's statement comes just three days after left-leaning blog Blue Hog Report published a story that called Secretary of State Martin out for being in his hometown of Prairie Grove during several days of the legislative session instead of being in Little Rock. The blog's publisher, Matt Campbell, was able to draw the conclusions using geotagging attached to several messages Martin posted on his personal Facebook page.
When asked whether her comment was a result of the report on BHR, Inman said to "take it as you will."
In an e-mail, Alex Reed, Martin's press secretary, simply said, "All frivolous accusations.” He later confirmed that Martin would seek re-election.
Speaking about her experience, she previously served as former Secretary of State Sharon Priest's Director of Elections, as well as working as part of a team that "cleaned up the election debacle" in Pulaski County in 2002, an election Inman said that resulted in a grand jury.
In addition to her experience in government, which spans from her first job in the Pulaski County Circuit Clerk's office in 1983 to her current position as chair of the Pulaski County Election Commission, Inman said she also has international election experience.
"I am appointed by the U.S. Department of State periodically to observe elections in other countries," she said. "I was in Macedonia in April and prior to that I was in Russia in December 2011 when (Vladimir) Putin was elected president."
All of her experience, Inman said, makes her more than qualified to take over the office come January 2015.
"It's a big job, it requires a lot of knowledge and experience and I know when Secretary Martin came on, there was a huge learning curve and they're still having a little difficulty in fulfilling all of their responsibilities."
To mount a successful campaign against Martin, Inman said she is unsure of how much money she would need to raise, though she feels that her previous work with the Secretary of State's office, as well as her work with the Arkansas Election Commissioner's Assocation which she helped found, would prepare her to get her name out to voters not familiar with her.
"Though you may not have heard my name before or may have, I've worked very closely with county clerks and election commissioners across the state. I've worked with the Democratic Party and I have a lot of friends and colleagues in the Republican Party. So I will build upon the contacts that I already have and go from there.
Now that she has announced her intent to run for Secretary of State, Inman said she will likely resign her position overseeing the elections commission within the next month.
"Legally, I probably don't have to resign until I file. But ethically, I think I should resign soon," she said.
The following is a list of announced 2014 candidates for all Arkansas constitutional offices.
Curtis Coleman – Republican
Former Lt. Gov. Bill Halter – Democrat
Former U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson – Republican
Former U.S. Rep. Mike Ross – Democrat
No confirmed candidates
SECRETARY OF STATE:
Susan Inman – Democrat
Secretary of State Mark Martin – Republican
David Sterling – Republican
Saline County Circuit Clerk Dennis Milligan – Republican (has formed an exploratory committee)
No confirmed candidates
Ken Yang – Republican