With Sen. Michael Lamoureux moving from the Senate Pro Temp office to Gov.-elect Asa Hutchinson’s chief of staff, a vacancy has opened up in the State Senate District 16 which includes Russellville. Two Republicans filed this past Monday as candidates for the open seat and one more plans to file this coming Monday when filing closes.
Former Republican Rep. Stan Berry of Dover filed on Monday to make a return to the capital dome. Berry represented District 70 in the House from 2003 to 2008 before being term-limited. He was replaced by Rep. Robert Dale, who served in the House from 2009 to 2013 and will be the House chief of staff in the upcoming session. Berry worked briefly as an outreach coordinator for Secretary of State Mark Martin before resigning to run for this office. He has previously worked for CenturyTel and Southwestern Energy.
Berry was joined last Monday by fellow Republican Greg Standridge of Russellville. Standridge is an insurance agent who owns CSI Insurance. He has previously served as president of the Independent Insurance Agents of Arkansas and of the Professional Insurance Agents of Arkansas. He is also a volunteer fire chief for the Crow Mountain Volunteer Fire Department.
Thomas Akin tells me that he plans to file for the office this coming Monday as well. Akin is a contractor and also serves on the board of Chambers Bank of Danville. Akin ran for state representative in 2008 as a Democrat losing to Republican Rep. Andrea Lea. Here is an ad from that campaign. This time around, Akin has switched parties and will file as a Republican.
“I have been a Democrat all my life, but I was also a church-going conservative,” explained Akin. “The Democratic Party has gotten too liberal for me, and there is just no room in it any more for a conservative.”
No other candidates have announced and most don’t expect any others will, but there could still be a surprise between now and when filing closes on Monday, December 1. The special primary is set for January 13. If no one gets a majority, then a runoff with the top two vote getters will take place February 10. If any Democrats and/or Independents file, then a general election will be held April 14. Unfortunately, the timing makes it unlikely that the seat will be filled early in the regular legislative session.