The Republican Party of Arkansas and Democratic Party of Arkansas are both calling on Gov. Mike Beebe (D) to hold a special primary election to fill the State Senate seat vacated by the resignation of Sen. Paul Bookout (D-Jonesboro).

The RPA sent a letter to Beebe dated Aug. 27, 2013 expressing its preference for a primary election to select nominees for the District 21 Senate seat.

“Thank you for your prompt letter addressing the vacancy in State Senate District 21,” RPA chairman Doyle Webb wrote to Beebe. “In accordance with Arkansas Code Annotated Section 7-7-105(a)(1), I hereby notify you that the state committee of the Republican Party of Arkansas requests a primary to select our candidate for this special election.”

The DPA said it intended to ask for a special primary election, too.

“Holding a primary election is the most Democratic option and the people of Craighead County deserve this vote,” said DPA chairman Will Bond. “We look forward to notifying Gov. Beebe of our preference to hold a primary election in accordance with the state law.”

According to the state’s election code, if one party asks for a special election primary, both parties must hold a primary.  With the decision from the parties, Beebe will now set the dates for a special primary, run-off, and general election schedule.

Matt DeCample, spokesman for Gov. Beebe, said that once the governor officially receives the letters from the political parties, it is Beebe’s intention to have a new Senator in place ahead of the holiday season.

So far, five candidates – three Republicans and two Democrats – have declared they will seek the Senate seat.

UPDATE:  On Wednesday, Gov. Beebe set the dates for a special election for the Senate seat.

October 8, 2013 – Primary special election

November 12, 2013 – Run-off special election (if necessary)

January 14, 2014 – General special election

The period for filing for candidacy as a party candidate with the Secretary of State’s office shall commence at 12:00 noon on Tuesday, September 3, 2013, and end at noon on Friday, September 6, 2013.

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